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"Psychological effects of color on human behavior"

Psychological effects of color on human behavior pdf

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There are also commonly noted psychological effects of color as it relates to two main categories: warm and cool. Warm colors – such as red, yellow and orange –. Environmental Colour Impact upon Human Behaviour: A Review. Author links open overlay Study on Psychological Responses to Color Stimulation. Focused  by NA Jalil - ‎ - ‎Cited by - ‎Related articles. Mar 8, - Blue: seen as having a calming effect. Darker shades of blue (as in police uniforms and business suits) may suggest reliability and security. The.


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Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long believed that color can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions. Certain colors have been associated with increased blood pressure, increased metabolism, and eyestrain. So how exactly does color work? In , English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors.

Newton also found that each color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colors. Further experiments demonstrated that light could be combined to form other colors.

If you have ever painted, then you have probably noticed how certain colors can be mixed to create other colors. Despite the general lack of research in this area, the concept of color psychology has become a hot topic in marketing, art, design, and other areas.

Much of the evidence in this emerging area is anecdotal at best, but researchers and experts have made a few important discoveries and observations about the psychology of color and the effect it has on moods, feelings, and behaviors.

Your feelings about color are often deeply personal and rooted in your own experience or culture. For example, while the color white is used in many Western countries to represent purity and innocence, it is seen as a symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries.

Why is color such a powerful force in our lives? What effects can it have on our bodies and minds? While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange, and yellow.

These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple, and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference. How do people respond to different colors? Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or the use of colors to heal.

Chromotherapy is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colorology. Colorology is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment. Most psychologists view color therapy with skepticism and point out that the supposed effects of color are often grossly exaggerated.

Colors also have different meanings in different cultures. Research has demonstrated in many cases that the mood-altering effects of color may only be temporary. A blue room may initially cause feelings of calm, but the effect dissipates after a short period of time. However, existing research has found that color can impact people in a variety of surprising ways:. Studies have also shown that certain colors can have an impact on performance.

No one likes to see a graded test covered in red ink, but one study found that seeing the color red before taking an exam actually hurt test performance. While the color red is often described as threatening, arousing or exciting, many previous studies on the impact of the color red have been largely inconclusive.

The study found, however, that exposing students to the color red prior to an exam has been shown to have a negative impact on test performance. In the first of the six experiments described in the study, 71 U. Color psychology suggests that various shades can have a wide range of effects, from boosting our moods to causing anxiety.

But could the color of the products you purchase ever say something about your personality? For example, could the color of the car you buy somehow relate to some underlying personality traits or quirks? Your color preferences why buying items might say something about the type of image you may be trying to project.

Color preferences, from the clothes you wear to the car you drive, can sometimes make a statement about how we want other people to perceive us. Other factors such as age and gender can also influence the color choices we make. Of course, the color selections we make are often influenced by factors including price, selection, and other practical concerns. Not only that, but color preferences can also change in time.

A person might prefer brighter, more attention-getting colors when they are younger, but find themselves drawn to more traditional colors as they grow older. The personality of the buyer can play an important role in color selection, but buyers are often heavily influenced by factors such as price as well as availability. For example, purchasing a white vehicle might be less about wanting people to think that you are young and modern and more about the climate you live in; people who live in hot climates typically prefer light-colored vehicles over dark ones.

Interest in the subject of color psychology is growing, but there remain a number of unanswered questions. How do color associations develop?

How powerful is the influence of these associations on real-world behavior? Can color be used to increase worker productivity or workplace safety? What colors have an impact on consumer behavior? Do certain personality types prefer certain colors? As researchers continue to explore such questions, we may soon learn more about the impact that color has on human psychology.

Zena O'Connor, a faculty member in the Department of Architecture, Design, and Planning at the University of Sydney, suggests that people should be wary of many of the claims they see about the psychology of color.

Color can play an important role in conveying information, creating certain moods, and even influencing the decisions people make.

Color preferences also exert an influence on the objects people choose to purchase, the clothes they wear, and the way they adorn their environments.

People often select objects in colors that evoke certain moods or feelings, such as selecting a car color that seems sporty, futuristic, sleek, or trustworthy. Room colors can also be used to evoke specific moods, such as painting a bedroom a soft green to create a peaceful mood.

So what's the bottom line? Experts have found that while color can have an influence on how we feel and act, these effects are subject to personal, cultural, and situational factors. More scientific research is needed to gain a better understanding of color psychology. Ever wonder what your personality type means?

Sign up to find out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter. Elliot AJ. Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical work. Front Psychol. A critical analysis of chromotherapy and its scientific evolution. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Effect of colour of drugs: systematic review of perceived effect of drugs and of their effectiveness.

Elliot AJ, Aarts H. Perception of the color red enhances the force and velocity of motor output. Frank MG, Gilovich T. The dark side of self- and social perception: black uniforms and aggression in professional sports. J Pers Soc Psychol.

Color and psychological functioning: the effect of red on performance attainment. J Exp Psychol Gen. Color preferences in infants and adults are different. Psychon Bull Rev. Kida, TE. New York: Prometheus Books; O'Connor, Z. Colour psychology and colour Therapy: Caveat emptor.

More in Theories. Psychological Effects of Color. Modern Research. Influence on Performance. Consumer Purchases. View All. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Related Articles. The Color Psychology of Pink. Effects of the Color Purple on Mood and Behavior. How the Stroop Effect Works. Verywell Mind uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience.

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Colors are thought to influence our buying choices, our feelings, and even our memories. Companies choose colors that they believe will motivate customers to buy their products and improve brand awareness.

Colors have even been used in color therapy techniques to treat various diseases. Color psychology is a relatively new area of study that faces several challenges. A major difficulty that arises when investigating this topic is determining how to actually measure the effects of color. Color perception is very subjective, as different people have different ideas about and responses to colors.

Several factors influence color perception, which makes it difficult to determine if color alone impacts our emotions and actions.

Factors that influence color perception include age , gender , and culture. In a situation where a woman is wearing a white wedding dress, is she happy because she is influenced by the color white or because she is getting married?

To someone from a different culture, wearing white may signify sadness. This is because in those cultures, white is associated with grief and death. These and similar factors must be considered when investigating the influence of colors on human emotions and behavior. These colors are associated with calmness, coolness, and tranquility.

Ideas, attitudes, and emotions associated with the color red include:. Red is the longest wavelength of light on the visible light spectrum.

In western cultures, red is associated with power, control, and strength. It also signals danger and triggers alertness. Red on traffic lights signal drivers to be alert and to stop. Some animals, such as snakes , have red coloration to indicate that they are dangerous and deadly. Red also signifies passion and invokes the fight or flight response. This instinct is triggered by the brain's amygdala when we are confronted with danger or a threatening situation. It is what causes us to either fight or flee.

Blue is associated with calmness and tranquility. It is a symbol of logic, communication, and intelligence. It is linked with low stress, low temperature, and low pulse rate. In spite of the negative associations, blue is often chosen as the most popular color in research surveys worldwide. In research studies, blue light has also been found to reset our circadian rhythms or sleep-wake cycles.

It is the blue wavelengths of light from the sun that inhibit the pineal gland from releasing melatonin during the day. Melatonin signals the body that it is time to sleep. Blue light stimulates us to stay awake. Yellow is a bright color and the most visible color to the eye.

It is associated with happiness, friendliness, and signifies competence. Yellow is the color of optimism and creativity. Interestingly, yellow is also associated with fear, cowardice, and sickness. Green is located between yellow and blue on the visible light spectrum and represents balance. It is the color of springtime and is commonly associated with growth, life, fertility, and nature.

Green represents safety and is linked to prosperity, wealth, good fortune, and finances. It is considered a relaxing, soothing color that is thought to have a calming effect and to relieve stress. Negative associations with green include greed, jealousy, apathy, and lethargy.

Orange is found between red and yellow on the visible light spectrum. It is thought to symbolize qualities that are a combination of the high-energy color red and the emotionally upbeat color yellow. Orange is associated with warmth, enthusiasm, and encouragement. Orange is thought to affect appetite by increasing hunger. It also is thought to increase mental activity and acumen. In research studies, exposure to orange light has been shown to improve cognition and alertness.

Orange is the primary color of fall and is also associated with summer. Light shades of orange are considered welcoming, while dark shades are identified with dishonesty. Purple or violet is the shortest wavelength on the visible light spectrum. It is a combination of blue and red and represents nobility, power, and royalty. It is also associated with spirituality, sacredness, and gracefulness.

Light purple colors represent romance and delicateness, while dark purple symbolizes sorrow, fear, and apprehensiveness. Pink is the color most associated with femininity. It is tied to ideas of happiness, love, playfulness, and warmth. Pink is also related to harmony and closeness. Light pink signifies sensitivity and kindness, while hot pink represents passion and flirtatiousness.

Pink is thought to have a calming effect and many prisons have pink holding cells in an attempt to reduce violent behavior among inmates. Negative associations with the color pink include immaturity, physical weakness, and low self-confidence. Black absorbs all wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. Black is viewed as mysterious, and in many cultures, it is associated with fear, death, the unknown, and evil.

It also represents power, authority, and sophistication. Black signifies seriousness, independence, and is commonly associated with sadness and negativity. White is the opposite of black and reflects all wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. When added to black, white lightens its color.

In eastern cultures, white is associated with grief and death. In western cultures, it represents purity, innocence, and sterility. White is also associated with safety, spirituality, and faith.

Negative associations with white include isolation, emptiness, and a sense of inaccessibility. We don't actually see colors with our eyes. We see colors with our brains. The colors we see are determined by the wavelength of light that is reflected. Visible color wavelengths range from about nanometers nm to about nanometers. Different colors along the visible light spectrum have different wavelengths.

For example, red has wavelengths ranging from nm, yellow from nm, and blue from nm. Our eyes are equipped with special photoreceptors called rods and cones.

Rods are more sensitive to light than cones and allow us to see in dim light. Rods are not able to detect color. Cones detect a range of color light wavelengths. Our eyes have three types of cones: blue, green, and red. The red cones are most sensitive to red wavelengths, blue cones to blue wavelengths, and green cones to green wavelengths. When a color is reflected from an object, the light wavelength hits the eyes and cones send signals to the visual cortex of the brain for processing.

Our brain associates the wavelength with a color. Although our eyes have three cone types, the different wavelengths of light detected by the cones overlap. The brain integrates these overlapping wavelength signals sent from cones enabling us to distinguish between millions of different colors. Share Flipboard Email. Regina Bailey. Biology Expert. Regina Bailey is a board-certified registered nurse, science writer and educator. Warning Love Courage Aggression Rage. Associations with the color blue include:.

Trust Efficiency Coolness Security Sadness. Yellow is vivid and lively. Associations with yellow include:. Energy Hope Honor Fear Frailness. Green symbolizes ideas such as:. Health Compassion Favor Ambition Passivity. Associations with the color orange include:. Wisdom Pleasure Desire Pride Loneliness. Purple represents ideas and attitudes related to:.

Wealth Dignity Wisdom Arrogance Impatience.

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Oct 09,  · The right or wrong color, however, can depend on a lot of factors. The psychology of color and color perception are subjective. Yes, certain colors do elicit certain reactions on an emotional or physical level and some colors have a universal significance. However, their effects will vary from person to . The review clearly shows that color can carry important meaning and can have an important impact on people's affect, cognition, and behavior. The literature remains at a nascent stage of development, however, and we note that considerable work on boundary conditions, moderators, and real-world generalizability is needed before strong conceptual. Color Psychology, the study of how color affects mood and behavior, is a relatively new science, and determining the effects, if any, of color has been difficult. Research is complicated by a number of factors: color itself is not simple. Hue, saturation and brightness must all be accounted for. There are many shades of any color.