If you’re the kind of person who prefers a dimly-lit room for learning activities, you should rethink your habit as a new study proves that dim lights can actually inhibit the brain learning capacity.
Dim Lights Reduce Learning Ability by 30 Percent
Antonia Nunez, a professor at the Michigan State University, and the author of the latest project aimed at casting some light on light declared that this is the first study to outline the link between ambient light shift and brain structures.
During the study, Nunez and his team studied the brains of Nile grass rats. Similar to humans, Nile grass rats are diurnal mammals, meaning that they sleep throughout the night. For the purpose of the experiment, the rodents were divided into two groups.
The first group was to be exposed to dim lights for about four weeks, while the second group was to be exposed to bright lights for the same duration. Following the experiment, Nunez observed that the rodents exposed to dim lights experienced a 30 percent decrease in hippocampal activity, a brain area that plays a significant role in learning and memory.
Furthermore, the group exposed to dim lights performed poorly on the spatial recognition and navigation tests, tasks for which they’ve received training. On the other hand, the group that was exposed to bright lights had an overall increased performance.
Nunez explained that after submitting both groups to the tests, their MRIs revealed various gradients of the neuro-peptide brain-derived neurotrophic factor and dendritic spines. While the first maintain healthy connections between neuron, the later allows neurons to communicate.
The results revealed that the group exposed to dim lights had decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor and dendritic spines, while the other group showed spikes in both neuro-components.
Image source: Flickr