Color Psychology – Does It Affect Our Emotions and Behaviors?

Color Psychology

Color psychology – Do you feel peaceful in a simple white room? Does the blue sea evoke a sense of calmness within? Or maybe do you feel unsettled seeing a bright neon yellow? Interior designers and artists have always claimed that colour does have a huge impact in a person’s mood and feelings. “Color is a power which directly influences the soul” rightly quoted by Wassily Kandinsky

Color is a magnificent medium that can be used to stimulate mood, signal action, and even influence the path of psychological reactions. Few colors have been directly linked to activating physiological response too like the color red claimed by researchers have said to result in increased blood pressure, increased metabolism and increased eyestrain. 

What is Color Psychology?

Color Psychology is the study of how different hues can be helpful in analysing human behaviour thereby understanding mental, emotional and physiological effects that colors have in various spheres of human life. It goes without saying that there could be different interpretations, meanings and perceptions, colors have in different cultures. Just like in Hindu culture wearing white signifies peace during a funeral but in Christianity, white is worn during the weddings. 

The Psychological Effects of Color:

Color is often associated with a human’s emotions. There are two major categories of colors, one is Warm Colors for example yellow, red, orange and the other is Cool Colors like green, blue and purple. Generally, Warm colors epitomize a range of emotions from comfort to hostility whereas Cool colors often spark emotions ranging from calmness to gloomy or feeling sad

Understanding the effects of these colors are also quite deep. Warm colors like yellow and orange are often associated with stimulating people’s appetite and making them hungry. Hence, haven’t you often seen these colors in restaurants? Also, at the same time, one has to be careful about using these bright colors as they reflect more light and can cause irritation to the eye. 

Talking about the cool spectrum of colors, whenever we think of a calm and a peaceful environment the two colors that hop in naturally are green and blue. There is also a scientific logic around this as since the eye focuses the green color directly onto the retina, it’s claimed to be causing less strain on eye muscles. Alternatively, the color blue has believed to decrease respiration issues and helps with regulating blood pressure. Hence, it’s also one of the most common bedroom colors. 

Meaning and Effects of Colors: 

  • Black: For some, black has positive connotations as it stands for attractiveness and elegance. For a lot of people, it oozes sophistication. It is also associated with power; hence judges and corporates prefer it. On the contrary, for some it symbolises negativity, comes across to be sombre of death or evil things. It also evokes feelings of gloominess, sadness, fear and aggression. Hence, commonly used negative expression are Black magic, Blackmail, Black plague, Blackout, etc.
  • White: White is a serene color that creates a sense of space or adds highlights. Many designers like using white to make rooms seem larger and more spacious. While is a very peaceful and auspicious color, white is taken into consideration of being a cold, bland, and sterile color. When you paint a completely white, it can look spacious, but empty and unfriendly. Have you observed that hospitals and hospital workers use white to generate a sense of sterility? Some of the positive aspects that white color describes are cleanliness, freshness, and simplicity. On the negative front, white can seem unambiguous, cold, and isolated.
  • Purple: Purple is often described to be a mysterious, imaginative and a spiritual color. It doesn’t color naturally in nature and hence is viewed as intriguing. It is a secondary color made of a combination of blue and red that balances stimulation and serenity that is supposed to encourage creativity. Light shades of purple are used for relieving stress. In history, it was also considered to be a royal color and symbol of wealth and royalty.
  • Orange: Orange is one of the most attention grabbing colors. It is bright and energetic that helps in uplifting the mood and could be really tacky and too much for some. In some parts, it’s associated with dark or scary aspects like Halloween.
  • Pink: Pink is a very joyful, vibrant and soothing color that is often linked to the idea of love, romance, kindness and beauty. Shades of pink can vary from light and relaxing ones to darker and bright ones that might be liked or disliked by a lot. Generally, the females are said to attract pink more than males because of a sense of soothing vibe, hue of red and warmth it brings about.
  • Green: Green is a color that represents nature, tranquillity, good luck and envy. A few researches have also discovered that this color can improve reading capabilities. It’s considered to be a very calming, hopeful and radiant color.  
  • Yellow: Yellow is considered to evoke one of the most uncertain emotions. One side it’s extremely liked for uplifting the mood, bright and energetic vibe but also on the other hand it’s attention grabbing and irritating for some. Some researchers also claim that it can lead to visual fatigue.
  • Blue: Blue is one of the most liked colors and is known for its calm and soothing nature and also can sometimes evoke a dull and icy vibe. Researchers claim that it tends to lower the body temperature and pulse rate.
  • Red: Red is a color that stands for passion, love as well as anger and power. It’s a color that stands out and has various facets to it. In some places it’s also a signal of danger or warning. On the other hand, it’s also one of the most exciting colors that is said to leave the most lasting impact. Researchers claim that it elevates blood pressure, metabolism, heart rate and respiration. 

Color Psychology as Therapy:

In ancient times, Egyptians and Chinese used to practice Chromotherapy which is a way wherein colors are used to heal a person by passing certain vibrations to bring health and harmony. Each color has frequency of a specific vibration and each vibration is somewhere linked to help with a physiological symptom. In many places, it’s called light therapy.

  • Red is believed to stimulate the body and mind and helps increase circulation.
  • Yellow helps in stimulating the nerves and detoxing the body.
  • Orange is said to heal the lungs and grows energy levels.
  • Blue is considered to mollify illnesses and treat pain.
  • Indigo shades are believed to improve skin problems.

Researches about Color Psychology: 

Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier have said that there is very little theoretical and empirical work being done to understand and study the effects of color psychology and it’s actually astonishing it’s not a very well-developed field yet. There are studies being conducted that are mostly facilitated by practical concerns and not scientific rigor. Irrespective of this, people are using colors and patterns to create art, craft and designs. 

Studies says that: 

  • Warm colored placebo medicines were said to be more impactful that cool colored ones
  • Reported in an anecdotal research it is said that blue colored street lights can be helpful is reduction of crimes 
  • Red as color is known for its spirit, speed and power and its helped athletes claimed by a few researches 

In this way color does have a great impact in one’s livelihoods. It’s what you see, you absorb. It impacts the thinking, mood, action, performance and overall mental cognitive abilities. 

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