Color Psychology | Effect on our moods and emotions

Color Psychology | Effect on our moods and emotions

What is color psychology?

Color psychology is the study of the connection or the impact/effect of colors on human behavior. It is widely used in marketing & branding.

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” ~ Wassily Kandinsky

Colors are what our eyes see when light is reflected off an object. It only takes a quick glance at our surroundings for us to notice the countless shades and hues in our day-to-day lives. From the food we eat, the clothes we wear, to a blade of grass, our perception is drawn by the colors we take in.

The series of experiments by English physicist and mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton, with sunlight and prisms, which were published in 1672, play a key role in the modern understanding of light and color. He was the first to understand and demonstrate that clear white light was composed of seven visible colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. This led to breakthroughs in optics, physics, chemistry, perception, and the study of color in nature.

color psychology

German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe challenged Newton’s views on color. In 1810 he published ‘Theory of Colors’, which argued that color was not just a scientific measurement, but a subjective experience perceived differently by each person. This paved the way for the first systematic study on the physiological effects of color.

Colors are an essential part of how we experience the world, both biologically and culturally. It is a powerful communication tool that can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. Studies suggest that colors can have psychological effects as well. While some can induce passion, attraction, others can have a calming effect or even trigger intense emotions, such as anger. Some colors bring us joy and energy, while some dampen our emotional/mental state. The color of placebo pills is reported to be a factor in their effectiveness, with “hot-colored” pills working better as stimulants and “cool-colored” pills working better as anti-depressants. It also affects how people perceive the edibility and flavor of foods and drinks.

Overview | Color Psychology:

  • Colors in the category of RED – like ORANGE and YELLOW, are considered warm colors, which evoke emotions like happiness, satisfaction, fear, sadness, anger, etc.
  • Colors in the category of BLUE – like, PURPLE and GREEN are called cool colors which are described as calm.
  • Pastel colors like PEACH, PINK or LILAC can uplift mood as it makes us feel optimistic and happy.
  • Dark or muted colors also known as sad colors are often considered the color of mourning.

Ancient Egyptians & Chinese founded the first version of chromotherapy, also known as colorology or light therapy. This therapy uses specific frequency and vibrations of the visible spectrum of light and color to affect the energy and frequencies within our bodies. It is believed that the colors entering the body can activate hormones causing chemical reactions within the body, which induce and accelerate holistic healing of an individual’s mood, emotions, and physical, as well as mental health. It is also known to affect a person’s performance in very real ways.

For example:

  • Red is used to stimulate the body and mind
  • Yellow stimulates the nerves and does purification of body
  • Orange heals our lungs and increases our energy level
  • Blue soothes illness and pain
  • Indigo reduces skin problems

There are a number of elements that can influence a person’s feelings when exposed to a certain color. Even subtle changes to a hue can have a big impact on how it is perceived. It is widely believed that our reactions are rooted in psychological effects, biological conditioning, cultural imprinting, and personal association, implying that colors can be subjective. Due to this, it is possible that a specific color can have a certain impact on one person and the opposite on another.

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