Journal article Open Access

Effect of desk materials on affective states and cognitive performance

Lipovac, Dean; Podrekar, Nastja; Burnard, Michael D.; Šarabon, Nejc

Visual and tactile properties of materials can influence human emotional and cognitive functioning. Existing studies indicate that exposure to wood may lead to more favourable outcomes than contact with other common materials, but evidence is limited. We measured affective states and cognitive performance in 16 participants before and after each spent 15 min at 10 desks with differing top surfaces. Desk surfaces were made of untreated, oiled, or lacquered spruce or oak solid wood, laminated or oak-veneered particleboard, glass, and mineral-filled thermoplastic composite. The results indicate that cognitive performance and affective states of participants did not differ between the desk surfaces. It appears that exposure to a relatively small wooden surface does not significantly influence affective and cognitive outcomes. Incorporating larger amounts of wood coverage and a more demanding cognitive task would probably increase the chances of capturing the potential effects of wood exposure on human affective states and cognitive performance.

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