—Ally Laudon, Staff Writer—
The study of color psychology is a very controversial topic. Some studies show that
colorology is proven to work, and others question whether it’s reliable to attribute colors to different reactions based on personality, personal experience, and culture. Cosby senior Addie Clark says, “Different people like or dislike different colors for different reasons, so it affects people differently.” Although some colors are representative of some feelings, there are also other feelings that can be associated with that color.
Artists and interior designers are the individuals who have put the most effort for the longest period of time into understanding how color affects mood. As far as interior design goes, no one wants to sit in a room that makes them feel anxious or angry while waiting to see a doctor. Designers tend to paint waiting rooms either a neutral color that doesn’t evoke a strong feeling, or blues that can be associated with calmness. Artists however, use color in a way to purposely cause an individual to feel something due to color. Artists with a goal to create something relatable, or perhaps make the viewer understand how they felt as they created their piece. For instance, if they use a lot of red, the viewer is able to identify anger. Cosby senior Clark says, “Colors have a lot to do with that. Red and black make a picture look angry, and a lot of blues make it look sad. Color has a lot to do with art and a person’s interpretation.”
Color can be used as a way of communication as well. For instance, warm colors are red,
orange, and yellow, so even if the individual looking at a picture doesn’t know something is hot, they could assume it was hot due to the coloring. Also, cool colors include blue, purple and green. These are associated with the cold as well, for example in a story with pictures, if a child that is playing in the snow, has hands that start turning blue or purple, it can be assumed he is cold even if it’s not stated.
The ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures used chromotherapy, which is the use of colors to heal. Red was used to increase circulation for the body and mind. Yellow was used in a way to heal nerves. Orange was associated with lung healing, and was a boost for one’s energy. Blue was a pain reliever and helped with illness. Indigo was used for healing skin issues. Though this was once a belief, it is now understood that color can have an affect on mood, however in the instance of healing the hue becomes moot. In agreement with this, Clark says, “Not necessarily heal it, but control it, maybe if they were having an episode the color could calm them down.”
Modern research on the psychological effects of colors have proven that any effect that
color has on an individual is only temporary. However, there have been studies that have shown that certain colors like blue was used in streetlights and the result was a lower crime rate. Also, people that tend to be warmer by nature prefer cool colors, and people that are cold by nature prefer warm colors. With some other tests, red was proven to be helpful as a color shown before an athletic race, resulting in a faster speed, whereas the opposite effectiveness was true for a test. Upon seeing red before taking a test, many students did significantly worse than students that did not.
Header Photo Courtesy of See-ming Ling