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Neuroimaging Institute Researches Natural Image Impact

The university will partner with The Sky Factory to study the effects of virtual skylights on hospital patients.

Written by Melanie Hess

The initial study will generate brain maps of the neural  pathways and regions associated with patient's perception of the SkyCeilings™ unique imagery.

The initial study will generate brain maps of the neural pathways and regions associated with patient’s perception of the SkyCeilings™ unique imagery.

Texas Tech’s Neuroimaging Institute will partner with The Sky Factory, a fine art and technology company that creates pleasant imagery of nature, to research the effects of these natural images on patient health.

Evidence-based design research indicates illusions of nature, such as a sky scene on the ceiling of a room, support healing, reduce stress and anxiety, and reduce the use of pain medications in health care settings. These realistic illusions have been installed in health care environments around the world to alleviate stress, promote patient relaxation, provide positive distraction and improve the patient experience.

The two-part research project, conducted by College of Human Sciences professors Debajyoti Pati, Michael O’Boyle and Cherif Amor, will study the effects of Sky Factory’s virtual skylights on hospital patients.

Pati said this research is exciting for Texas Tech, as it will mark the entry of the university into the field of neuroscience and architecture.

“These studies deal with the ground-breaking application of fMRI technology in building justifications for actual commercial products in a real-life context,” Pati said.

The initial study will generate brain maps of the neural pathways and regions associated with subjects’ perception of Sky Factory SkyCeilings™ unique imagery and compare those results with the mapped responses of the subjects’ viewing imagery established as being positive, negative or neutral.

The second half of the study will gather data on hospital patients over the period of one year. One group will be assessed while staying in rooms with Sky Factory SkyCeilings installed over the beds, and a second group while staying in rooms without the SkyCeilings.

The Sky Factory, LC is a unique fine art and technology company based in Fairfield, Iowa. Founded in 2002, the company creates realistic Illusions of Nature™ ­— virtual skylights and virtual windows that transform interior spaces. Applications include all health care environments, eldercare facilities, schools, workplaces, and hospitality environments.

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College of Human Sciences
The College of Human Sciences

The College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University provides multidisciplinary education, research and service focused on individuals, families and their environments for the purpose of improving and enhancing the human condition.

The college offers a Bachelor of Science degree with disciplines in:

  • Apparel Design and Manufacturing
  • Community, Family, and Addiction Services
  • Early Childhood
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Interior Design
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management
  • Retailing

The college also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.