Dimly light: Can dim light make us…dim?

Can dim light make us…dim?

Dusk, moonlight, a cozy fireplace light — undoubtedly, all of these evoke a romantic mood, but according to a new study, there’s more to dim light than meets the eye. Turns out, there might be an additional reason why a dim-lit setting leads us to make (sometimes poor) romantic decisions.

We’ve all been there at some point: you’re on a date in a dimly lit, cozy little restaurant.

It’s going reasonably well, and the person you’re with is half decent. However, maybe they’re not as attractive as you’d like, or perhaps they’re kind of rude to the waiter, or maybe they make weird chewing noises. Either way, you decide they’re not the right person for you.

Buuut, as you’re there, you might as well relax and try to enjoy the evening. You have a glass of wine, maybe two, one thing leads to another and let’s just say…the evening ends wildly differently from what you initially intended.

The next morning, as you watch your…unforeseen and premature partner sleeping, you begin to wonder, “What on earth were you thinking? What led to this…poor romantic choice? Was it the wine? Was it the atmosphere? Could it have been…the light?!”

According to a new study, yes, it could very well have been the light (although in our little scenario, the wine probably didn’t help either). Sure, a dim and romantic light makes us all look a little more attractive than we do in the cruel light of day, but — the new research seems to suggest — when you chose to go home with that person, you may have been…cognitively impaired.

Researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing tested the cognitive abilities of a type of rat that sleeps at night and is awake during the day — just like humans are.

The scientists exposed the rodents to dim light and bright light for a period of 4 weeks. Their new findings — published in the journal Hippocampus — may make you think twice before you light up that candle.

The rats that had been exposed to dim light performed poorly on spatial learning tasks and showed a 30 percent decrease in their hippocampi, which is a brain area that is key to learning and forming new memories.

Also, the same rodents showed decreased levels of a brain peptide that normally helps neurons to communicate with one another in the hippocampus. The peptide, which is called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, contributes to keeping healthy connections between neurons.

“Since there are fewer connections being made,” explains lead study author Joel Soler, a doctoral graduate student in psychology, “this results in diminished learning and memory performance that is dependent upon the hippocampus.”

“In other words,” he adds, “dim lights are producing dimwits.”

Conversely, rodents that were exposed to very bright light seemed to be, well, brighter; these rodents performed much better on spatial orientation tasks.

Additionally, when the “dim” rats were returned to bright light for another 4 weeks and then tested again, their brain capacity and cognitive performance had returned to normal.

This marks the first time that a study has shown that environmental changes in the light could lead to structural changes in the brain.

“When we exposed the rats to dim light, mimicking the cloudy days of Midwestern winters or typical indoor lighting, the animals showed impairments in spatial learning,” says study co-author Antonio Núñez, a professor of psychology.

He continues, saying, “This is similar to when people can’t find their way back to their cars in a busy parking lot after spending a few hours in a shopping mall or movie theater.” Or…similar to when people can’t find their way to their own bed after spending a few hours on a dimly lit date.

Dimly Lighted or Dimly Lit? Which Is Correct?

Whether you want to say “dimly lighted” or “dimly lit,” both phrases are correct. What will determine which one you use, however, will be the form of the past tense verb, “to light.” The word, “dimly” in both cases is an adverb, which describes the verb.

“Lighted” or “lit” are both past tense forms of the verb, “to light.” However, “lighted” is the past participle whereas “lit” is the simple past tense.

Past Participles; “Lighted”

Past participles can serve a few different functions in English grammar. The most common way is when it’s a conjugation. But, it can also formulate verb tense or be an adjective. Past participles will always end with -ed, -t, -n, -en or -d.

Therefore, “lighted” is the conjugated form of “to light,” utilizing -ed. In the formulation of a verb tense, you conjugate “to have” before “lighted. As an adjective, it will describe a noun. Consider the following examples:

  • Conjugated as a Verb: She lighted the stove to make tea.
  • Form Verb Tense: She had lighted the stove to make tea.
  • Adjective: The lighted stove was hot enough to make tea.

Simple Past Tense; “Lit”

“Lit,” indicates the past action of “to light.” You can also use it for passive voice by conjugating the verb “to be” or “to have” before “lit.”

  • As the Past Tense: She lit the stove to make tea.
  • Passive Voice: She had lit the stove to make tea.
  • Passive Voice: She was lit after adding some whiskey to her tea.

The second example of passive voice above infers metaphor and simile. In this case, “lit” is a comedic euphemism for “drunk.”

Examples of “Dimly Lighted” versus “Dimly Lit”

Now insert the adverb “dimly” to describe the past tense forms of “to light.”

She dimly lighted the stove to make tea.

She had dimly lighted the stove to make tea.

The dimly lighted stove was hot enough to make tea.

She dimly lit the stove to make tea.

She had dimly lit the stove to make tea.

She was dimly lit after adding some whiskey to her tea.


Using either “dimly lighted” or “dimly lit” is correct. The only difference is with how you want to use them in the context of the past. Some of these can be simple to illustrate an action or to emphasize metaphor and simile.


  • Author
  • Recent Posts


Conor is the main writer here at One Minute English and was an English teacher for 10 years. He is interested in helping people with their English skills and learning about using A.I tools at work.

Latest posts by Conor (see all)

Post navigation

The Best websites to learn English

Please enable JavaScript

The Best websites to learn English


Author: Vadim Avrukin

Publication date: 2022-11-20

go to another world. We share the results in this post.

“Dim light” sounds poetic, but for closed eyes it’s not the best that can be. Not to mention the light is bright, but night. The best way to sleep is complete darkness, although it is almost impossible to achieve. But you need to strive.

Alas, this or that light always finds loopholes in your bedroom.

In hospital wards, for example, this deadly bright light reigns forever. The paradox is that night light is especially harmful for sick people. Dim light for them would be a dream.

Scientists at West Virginia University believe hospital white light leads to brain cell death and increases the chance of a better world among heart patients.

Cardiac arrest mimicking cardiac problems was recreated in an animal experiment.


The animals were divided into 3 groups.

Some slept in dim white light, others in dim red, and still others in darkness.

After 7 nights, the scientists assessed the health of the animals’ brain cells.

The results are clear. White night light provokes cell death in the hippocampus, inflammation in microglia and an increase in mortality in general.

Moreover, the effect took place even after one night with dim light. Let me remind you that we are talking about an experiment in artificial conditions. It is clear that from one such night you will not suffer much damage.

Groups of animals that slept in red light and darkness did not have all these charms. Extrapolated to us, it’s better to sleep in a red darkroom than by a window with streetlights. Alas, there are almost no such rooms, but you can still get red nightlights.


Scientists themselves asked themselves: what about people?

For a group of hospitalized patients, they wore glasses with orange lenses, which are famous for filtering out blue light, for 4 nights in a row. These glasses give everything a nice sunset tone.

Another group was given glasses with lenses that allow “all white light” to pass through, including the blue part of the spectrum.

It is difficult to say what was going on in their hippocampus (after all, they are living people), but an increase in the level of inflammation in this second group was recorded!

The white light problem is essentially the blue light problem, notorious for disrupting our circadian rhythms.

Nature, with her inherent naivete, planned so that we would see this light when we wake up in the morning and during the current day, but not at night. Mankind has taken care that to see the blue color around the clock.

Computer and phone screens are strikingly associated with an increase in obesity, metabolic disorders, and even depression.

That’s it. Let’s hope that orange glasses will be introduced into hospital practice and white light will stop taking away patients.


Buyer Information→
Science news→
Dim light in the evenings artificially prolongs the sunny day

October 18, 2021

In modern society, people are regularly exposed to artificial light. This is facilitated, for example, by light-emitting electronic devices, which have become part of our lives in just the last half century (if not less). And this could not but be reflected in the way of life of people and their health.

Light provides the main cue to turn circadian rhythms into the day-night cycle. In addition to rods and cones, the retina contains a small population of light-sensitive retinal ganglion cells pRGCs expressing the melanopsin photopigment OPN4. Concerns have been raised that exposure to dim artificial lighting in the evening can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. The scientists hypothesize that melanopsin mediates these effects. That is, dim light in the evening artificially prolongs the sunny day, increasing our vigilance before bed, delaying the production of melatonin and pushing back the start of sleep, and also increasing sleepiness the next morning. But that’s not all.

Using laboratory mice as a model organism, scientists were able to show that two weeks of four-hour illumination at a brightness of 20 lux, adjusted using a luxmeter, delays the rhythms of resting activity in the evenings, delays molecular rhythms in the brain and body, and changes the daily pattern of short-term memory . Light induces a phase delay of two to three hours in mice, comparable to that reported in humans. Induced phase shifts are not affected in mouse melanopsin, indicating that rods and cones are able to stimulate these responses in its absence.

Dim light delays the rhythms of the molecular clock in the heart, liver, adrenal glands and spinal hippocampus. It also alters the performance of short-term recognition memory, which is associated with changes in previous sleep history. In addition, such light, when regularly present, changes the patterns of cFos signals, a molecular correlate of recent activity in hypothalamus and cerebral cortex neurons.

Taken together, all scientists’ data show that dim light in the evening causes a coordinated restructuring of circadian rhythms, sleep patterns, and short-term memory processes in mice.

These results highlight the biological impact of dim light and highlight the need to optimize our evening lighting if we are to avoid shifting our biological clock.