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#67 - What is the cathedral effect?

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Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

What does the cathedral effect do?

Did you know that the height of your workspace can influence the way you solve problems? Is working in a bunker with very low ceilings the same as working in a cathedral that aspires to touch the sky? This is the so-called cathedral effect.

It is the relationship that the height of a ceiling has with the problem-solving methodology, first raised by Edward T. Hall around 1960. He found that people tend to feel enclosed in chapels and liberated in cathedrals.

Influence of the cathedral effect on creativity

Low ceilings promote more detail-focused, concrete thinking, so for specific tasks it is the best solution. This principle can be used to create work sessions that are more focused on a clear objective, or in a shop to make customers focus on a specific item. Example: A supermarket, an operating room, a workroom, etc.

High ceilings, on the other hand, promote abstract, creative, out-of-the-box thinking, so for brainstorming sessions or divergences it would be great to work at this kind of height. Example: A casino, a shopping centre, a typical open-plan start-up studio, etc.

A curious fact is that in the study, if the ceiling height is not perceived, the work methodology is not biased.



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