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Psychology of Color

Psychology of Color

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Published by Helping Psychology
Color psychology provides insight to how people view the world, from their mood, emotions and even behaviors.
Color psychology provides insight to how people view the world, from their mood, emotions and even behaviors.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Helping Psychology on Mar 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/12/2014

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Psychology of Color
Color psychologyprovides insight to how people view the world, from their mood, emotions and evenbehaviors. Got the blues? Then you’re feeling sad. Green with envy? Then you want to drive your boss’sPorsche. Seeing red? Then you’re mad as hell.Color is the currency of mood, a figurative legacy some neurophysiologists believe harkens back to the circuitryof the infant brain. Synesthesia is the perception of one sensory input through another sense’s receptors; its mostcommon manifestation is the association of colors with non-visual stimuli. Cambridge experimental psychologistSimon Baron-Cohen(comedian Sacha’s brother) speculates all human beings may be born with synesthesia, anaptitude that’s lost as the brain matures and neural connections shut down. Whatever the truth behind this theory,the fact remains that colors exert a profound influence upon our emotions, and emotions are the driving forcebehind decision-making.Drawing on this, industrial psychologists have come to recognize the importance of colors as subliminalcatalysts. Take the color of your car. Through 2007, silver was the most popular automobile hue. “Some colorsare indicators that a person is doing well,” notes Dr. Peter Weil, an associate professor of cultural anthropology atthe University of Delaware. “Silver, for example, has been associated with high status… The popularity of silverbegan to wane, though, about two years ago. ” Coinciding with the beginning of the recession.The visceral impact of any given color can vary from culture to culture. In the West, we take it for granted thatblack is associated with death, but funereal colors throughout Asia are white, and in ancient Egypt, they wereyellow. Similarly, Western brides wear white, while Indian brides wear red; in their respective cultures, bothcolors symbolize purity. The fact that there is such cultural variety in the emotional states triggered by colorsuggests that response to different hues, to some degree, is a learned response. Synesthesia may be hardwired,but it’s programmable.One of the most famous color assignment experiments took place in the 1940s. Dr S.M. Newhouse, a YaleUniversity experimental psychologist, asked subjects to classify 50 colors to find out which were warm andwhich were cool. There was a fair degree of consensus that the “warm” shades were red and orange. But therewas a much wider degree of variation in the perception of “cool” colors which ranged from green to blue to

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