#21 How Color Affects Mood – Psychological Behavior


It is natural for us to feel certain mood when we are exposed to colors. For instance, yellow will sometimes makes us feel anxious and blue will make us relieved. Some people believed that colors have a direct influence on our emotions and moods.

Color has long been used to convey important messages that can influence feelings and psychological behavior. Learning how color affects mood will let you know what color is related to eyestrain, metabolism, and heart rate.

Color Psychology: How Color Affects Mood

Last 1666, Isaac Newton found out that the white light can separate into different colors when they passed through prism. He also discovered that color comes from single wavelength that will not separate into different colors.

Upon further test, they realized that light can be mixed to create unique colors. For instance, mixing yellow and red will help you form orange. There are even colors that can cancel each other such as magenta and green.

Despite of the lack of the research on general psychology, this concept is still a trending topic in the design, art, and marketing sector.

Most of the evidence related with color psychology is still anecdotal. However, there has been a great progress on this area over the years.

Feelings towards the color are often personal and can be deeply rooted on your culture and unique experience.

For instance, white may indicate innocence or purity in the Western countries, while in eastern countries, this can symbolize mourning.

How Color Influence Your Psychological Behavior

Color has been considered as a powerful aspect that can influence our lives. Although color perception can be somehow subjective, there are some color that may have generalized meaning.

Warm colors such as yellow, orange and red are known to evoke emotions that may range from hostility to comfort.

There are also cool colors such as green, purple, and blue. They are calm colors but may also stimulate indifference and sadness.

Using Color Psychology for Treatment

Ancient civilization such as Chinese and Egypt are known for practicing chromotherapy. This is the use of the color as part of therapy.

Chromotherapy is also referred to as colorology and light therapy. Up to this day, this treatment is still used as an alternative and holistic therapy.

  • Indigo – this color can be used to relieve skin irritation.
  • Blue – This can soothe pain and treat different illnesses.
  • Orange – Boost the level of energy and treat lungs.
  • Yellow – It purifies our body and stimulate our nerves.
  • Red – It improves the circulation of our body and stimulate the function of our mind.

Recent Researches Related to Color Psychology

A lot of psychologist will look at color therapy with disbelief. They believe that the result of the therapy is usually exaggerated.

However, they believe that color will have symbolism on various traditions and cultures. Based on different researches, the influence of the color towards our mood may probably be temporary.

A room surrounded with blue color may provide you with warmth and calm feeling but will eventually dissipate if you have been exposed for a prolonged period.

However, there are still existing researches that prove that color can affect our mood in multiple ways.

  • In a study that was performed at the University of Amsterdam, they found out that the colors can influence the supposed effect of the medicine. It also affects the efficacy of the drug. Color may also have an impact on our nervous system. This result has warranted further research to understand how the color affect drugs.
  • In an article that was published at the Seattle Times, they believe that the blue streetlight may have been able to lower the incidence of suicides. It also reduces the rate of street crimes. While this may only be an anecdotal evidence, the railway companies still believed that it is successful in preventing suicides.
  • In another study at University of Rochester, red can influence people to react on something with higher force and speed. This may prove to be helpful on athletic activities.
  • A research at the Cornell University claimed that sports team that are wearing black uniform is highly likely to receive penalties and they are more probable to be associated to negative traits and qualities.

How Color May Influence Performance

Studies have shown how color can have a direct influence towards your performance. Perhaps no one would want to receive their test paper covered with red ink.

However, based on a study published at the Journal of Experimental Psychology, being exposed to red color before the exam can negatively affect your test result.

Although red has been described as a color that is exciting, arousing, or threatening, the studies in the past showed how the influence of red remains inconclusive.

In the said experiment, around 71 students participated in the study. They have been divided into black, green, and red.

Results showed that students that are in the red group has achieved a score that is 20% lower compared to the black and green group.

How Color Affects Consumers

Color psychology is based on a concept that color can have a range of effects that a business can use to influence their customers. It can cause anxiety and may boost the confidence of people.

The color of the product that people purchase may also be related to their personality. For instance, the color of your car may be an indication of your quirks and traits.

The color of the product can affect the image that you want to project. From the car to the color of your clothes, your preference towards colors can create a statement on how you want other people to notice you. Color choices can also be influenced by other factors such as gender and age.

  • White – Wearing something white will make you appear clean, fresh, and pure. This is the color that often indicates modernity and youthfulness.
  • Black – Black can be related to power. This is perhaps the reason why the common color for luxury cars would be black. Apart from that, black can also mean ominous, mysterious, and sexy.
  • Silver – This is also a common color for vehicle and can symbolize modernity and innovation. State-of-the-art technologies will often be presented in silver shade.
  • Red – for those who prefer the red clothing or car, they are people who love to get the attention of others. You are confident, active, and powerful.
  • Blue – Blue is a symbol of safety and stability. Being attracted to this color may mean that you are a dependable person.
  • Yellow – Experts believe that people that are drawn to yellow products are happy people. You are also prepared to take risks that the average people will not be willing to take.
  • Gray – these people do not want to attract attention and prefer their lives to be subtler.

Nonetheless, apart from the color selection, the product that we choose can also be influenced by price, the solution that it is trying to offer, the pros and cons, etc.

Your preference towards color will also change as time passes by. During your younger days, you may opt for a bright color that warrants attention.

However, as you grow older, you will gravitate towards the more traditional shade. Personality can have a direct impact towards the purchasing decision of the customers, but the major factors is still the availability of the product and the price.

Room Color and How It Affects Your Personality

The colors are known to have three different effects; neutral, active, and passive. You can choose the color of your room in a manner that reflects your own desire and personality.

The lighter colors can make the room appear more spacious while the darker color can create a more intimate ambiance.

  • Red – It is known to boost the energy of the room. It increases the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
  • Yellow – pertains to happiness. Interior designers will often incorporate this color on bathrooms, kitchens, and dining areas.
  • Blue – Regulates heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure. It is a relaxing and calming color.
  • Green – This color relaxes our eye and will help people relieve some stress.
  • Purple – It creates a sense of elegance and sophistication.
  • Orange – this color can evoke the feeling of enthusiasm and excitement.

Further Research is Necessary

There is a growing interest towards the topic of color psychology, but there are still so many questions left unanswered.

As experts continue to explore the gray areas of this subject, we will soon understand how color can have a direct impact towards our moods and personality.

Most of todays claim about the effect of color still lacks a substantial evidence based on fundamental laws and support.

These may also include some trivial terms that has been presented as fact. There are also claims that has referred to studies that are outdated.

Learning how color affects mood can help us incorporate this on different aspects of our life. We can probably choose the color that will enable us to achieve the personality that we want to assume. We can also choose the color based on our mood of the day.


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