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Comparing colour discrimination and proofreading performance under compact fluorescent and halogen lamp lighting

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Legislation in many countries has banned inefficient household lighting. Consequently, classic incandescent lamps have to be replaced by more efficient alternatives such as halogen and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). Alternatives differ in their spectral power distributions, implying colour-rendering differences. Participants performed a colour discrimination task – the Farnsworth–Munsell 100 Hue Test – and a proofreading task under CFL or halogen lighting of comparable correlated colour temperatures at low (70 lx) or high (800 lx) illuminance. Illuminance positively affected colour discrimination and proofreading performance, whereas the light source was only relevant for colour discrimination. Discrimination was impaired with CFL lighting. There were no differences between light sources in terms of self-reported physical discomfort and mood state, but the majority of the participants correctly judged halogen lighting to be more appropriate for discriminating colours. The findings hint at the colour-rendering deficiencies associated with energy-efficient CFLs.

Practitioner Summary: In order to compare performance under energy-efficient alternatives of classic incandescent lighting, colour discrimination and proofreading performance was compared under CFL and halogen lighting. Colour discrimination was impaired under CFLs, which hints at the practical drawbacks associated with the reduced colour-rendering properties of energy-efficient CFLs.
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Keywords: colour discrimination; colour-rendering index; compact fluorescent lamp; halogen lamp; proofreading

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut für Experimentelle Psychologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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