Research for feelings inside

FEELING INSIDE: PhD candidate Bella Bower guides a member of Deakin University's school of engineering through virtual reality.

by Luke Voogt

Colours and textures in offices or houses could affect how people work or feel at home, according to a Geelong researcher conducting an “Australian-first” study.

“It’s totally uncharted territory,” PhD candidate Bella Bower told the Indy.

“We spend 80 per cent of our lives inside buildings. But no one’s been looking at objectively measuring how buildings make people feel.”

Bella planned to use virtual reality, an electrode-filled cap and other equipment to measure participants’ reactions to different indoor environments.

The study will measure brainwaves, sweat and heart rate to determine how the various environments impact each participant’s emotional state.

Bella came up with the idea after working in design and post-occupancy reporting.

“We didn’t have any objective measure as to how buildings make people feel,” the 28-year-old said.

“We don’t talk about how it’s affecting people mentally.”

The study was in the running to win a national competition requiring PhD candidates to explain their thesis in a three-minute talk, Bella said.

Bella was representing Deakin against 55 other universities after winning the local round of the competition, she explained.

The results could have applications in designing homes or workplaces, according to Bella.

“It might be more like dietary requirements in the sense that it’s not one-size-fits-all but a case-by-case basis.”

Bella is searching for 100 people aged 18-55 to participate in the study named Architecture with Feeling.

The study takes place at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus during October and each participant will receive a $20 supermarket voucher for their time.

Anyone interested can visit or email