The Effects of Color

Untitled designOur moods are affected by our surroundings. In fact, colors can have a bigger effect on emotions than one might expect. Leslie Harrington is the executive director of The Color Association of The United States. In an article for the Huffington post she explains that we have “an innate reaction to color”. Therefore we have different reactions to different colors.

While the way individuals react to colors can vary due to the unique ways individuals can perceive colors, studies have shown a pattern in the way certain colors influence emotions. For example, one experiment showed that in a room colored in only red light, individuals’ perception of time was overestimated. This contrasted the reaction of those in a blue or green-lighted room. In this experiment time was underestimated. More research regarding this relationship is needed however, and is slowly being pursued.

Furthermore, individuals also have emotional associations with particular colors. While these are often the result of culture, it is interesting to explore the common correlations between emotions and color. For example, studies have explored the effects of intense colors and their association with excitement, while softer colors have a more calming effect.

Another interesting angle to explore the effects of color on mood is the way in which it influences anxiety. One color to stay away from in an anxiety-inducing situation is yellow. Yellow is thought to create emotions of irrationality, fear and anxiety.

Exploring the psychology behind color has led me in many directions. I have found true believers in its effects and just the opposite, true skeptics. It seems that while studies have pursued the correlation, there is not a lot of substantial evidence explaining a true universal correlation between color and our mind. Color undoubtedly has an effect on people however, it is more so on an individual scale rather than a universal one.

Nonetheless, an interesting and fun interpretation of the effects of colors is shown in an article in Science of People.  The most helpful tip I found was number one, “What Color Should You Make Your Desktop: Green”.


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