The first phase of the study examined twenty four individuals – managers, architects, and designers – over a two-week period in a controlled environment. These individuals completed their normal work routines remotely from 9 AM to 5 PM each day, as the experimenters changed the air conditions without their knowledge.
They compared standard conditions to an optimized environment with differences in ventilation, VOCs, and carbon dioxide. Using tests to score decision-making performance and controlling for various types of biases, they found higher test scores in environments with increased ventilation and lower levels of VOCs and carbon dioxide. Essentially, improved decision-making with cleaner air.
The second phase of the study expanded into the real world. They examined 100 individuals amongst ten buildings within the United States. Controlling for a variety of factors – some of which included salary, type of work, and geographic location – they found that individuals working in “green certified” buildings scored higher on decision-making tests than others.
Again, cleaner air linked to improved decision-making.