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This is for safety reasons.
Take-Off and Landing are the two most critical phases of flight and thus, every additional step to ensure survivability, be it even just adjusting the light, is taken.
The interior lights or cabin lights are adjusted to match the exterior environment, so that in case of an emergency, especially if the interior lights fail, your eyes are already accustomed to the light setting and you do not require additional valuable seconds for adjustment to a possibly darker or brighter environment. The lights are usually adjusted at dusk, night or dawn to match the exterior environment.1
If the cabin lights do not fail during an emergency, the dimmed light also makes it easier to identify the "EXIT" signs which illuminate and make the guidance lighting on the floor easier to follow. The bright emergency lighting is more prominent to identify when the cabin light is dimmed, saving valuable seconds as the aircraft is evacuated.
This also ties in with having to raise the blinds on the windows. The blinds need to be raised during take-off and landing irrespective of the outside light situation, however, with a darker cabin, any outside light source, especially from fires or other hazards is easier to identify by the crew, making the decision process of whether one side could be inappropriate to use for evacuation faster, e.g. fire on port side --> no evacuation on that side.
The blinds are therefore raised to allow a better view for cabin crew of the outside area and external aircraft parts, such as engines, wings, etc.
originally posted by: TonyS
a reply to: corblimeyguvnor
Pilots anymore aren't all that good and most landings are "hard" down landings where the light bulbs often times break. If that happens when the lights are turned on, then sparks fly out of the light sockets and burn the passengers who start screaming which wakes up the Cabin crew and makes them angry.
originally posted by: Shuye
Right... we should not take official explanations here... bring on the theories!!