The Psychology of Color


“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”

– Pablo Picasso, 20th-century Spanish artist.


Colors are a huge part of every facet of a sighted person’s life. It can play an important role in conveying information, creating certain moods, and even influencing the decisions people make. Color preferences also arguably exert an influence on the things people choose to purchase, the clothes they wear, and the way they furnish their environments.

Dark and muted colors are often used to portray melancholy and calmness, warm ones are largely associated with happiness, optimism, and energy. In our daily life we can observe, that red (since it has the largest wavelength) along with orange and yellow, is used for stop signs, traffic lights, barrier tape, and hazard warnings. Neon signs are used by restaurants and other service facilities at night to make dramatic and glowing signage for advertising. In video and cinema, bright and light colors are used to give a youthful and cheerful effect. It is important to note that the reactions to colors or their meanings are rooted in individual differences, biological conditioning, and cultural imprinting. For example, in Western cultures black is often considered the color of mourning, whereas, in some East Asian countries and India, it’s white. Red is used for bridal clothes in South Asia while white or peach are used in a lot of other countries. Factors such as gender and age also play a role. Interestingly, several ancient cultures, like the Egyptians and the Chinese used to practice “chromotherapy”, or the use of colors to heal.

However, it is not as simple and easy to outrightly say that “blue walls increase workspace productivity” or “red makes you angry”. Many psychologists deem the relationship between colors and the emotional state of a person to be exaggerated and anecdotal at best. Existing research has found that color can impact people in surprising ways; like warm-colored placebo pills being more effective than cool ones but these studies do not establish a clear cause and effect relationship. The prevalence of various notions associated with color has not resulted in color psychology being a well-developed area. There is a lack of theoretical or empirical work conducted on the influence of color on psychological functioning, which has been driven by scientific rigor and not just practical concerns. Despite this lack of research, the concept of color psychology is still gaining traction in areas like design, art, marketing, etc.

In conclusion, experts have found that colors influence how we feel and act in multiple ways, but these effects are subject to personal, cultural, and situational factors. More scientific research is needed to gain a better understanding of color psychology.


Sana Khursheed 

12th D2

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