Color Psychology

Color is undoubtedly present in everything that we perceive. Each time scientific research is focusing progressively more in studying the unappreciated effect of colors we wear or see, or the colors we use to decorate on the way the mind works. Color exerts direct influence on motivation and behavior functioning without individuals conscious awareness.

Certainly color affects cognition (the way we think) and it varies as a function of the psychological context in which it is perceived. Color is very important on marketing, it is one of the factor that attracts consumers, a wrong color is crucial for any choice.

Moreover, color and emotive are closely tied. Color preferences are associated whether some colors elicits positive or negative feelings. Experiments shows that this can be dependent of the culture, socialization and age of the perceiver.

Some facts

Sports psychologists have found a positive effect of the color red (used in the kit they wear). They found that in average about 5%-13% more wins in those fighters who were randomly assigned to wear red kits than those who wear blue kits in sports such as taekwondo, or wrestling. They argue that red dolor affects the combatant mood, behavior, affects as well the referee judgments. It seems red colors unconsciously is a sign of dominance and aggression. They suggest that a very basic level of human behavior and presumably animals associate red color with danger. However this association is context specific, because in mating contexts, red color is linked with approaching behaviors.

In some experiments, it seems that men rated women who wear red shirts as more attractive that those who wear red or green shirts, and they are eager to ask a women to date or to spend money on her. Similarly, women found a man more attractive when he was wearing a red shirt or when there was a red background. It seems that this finding was replicated across cultures, establishing red as a almost universal color related with high attractiveness. However this is as always, subject to debate by researchers.

Researchers have found that the colors most preferred(on clothing) by most of the girls(age 5-9) for all garment types are red-orange, red-violet or magenta, while the colors preferred for boys(age 5-9) are blue, cyan, black, or yellow. It seems that these preferences are based almost exclusively in gender socialization. It seems also that color affects more children than adults, and that children prefer more neutral colors lie as they become old. These results were only limited to a portion of north American children.

Psychologists argue that color green is a symbol of new growth, and is the most energizing of the colors. After long winters, wearing green clothes can boos mood. Same thing happens with yellow, which is described as spontaneous, young and vibrant. In another study, color green evoked relation and comfort feelings among college students.

Light colors such as yellow or blue are commonly associated with positive emotions and dark colors such as black and gray with negative emotions. Several experiments have pointed out that bright colors elicit positive emotions in perceivers, while dark colors, elicits negative emotional associations.

Colors and decoration. Colors can be described as well as “warm” or “cool”, as related with the wavelength of color. Cool colors such as blue green or purple increases the perception of a space as restful, increases spaciousness, while warm colors as yellow, orange or red make a space less spacious increasing stimulation.

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Elkan, D. (2009). The psychology of colour: Why winners wear red.New Scientist, 203(2723), 42-45
Meier, B. P., D’Agostino, P. R., Elliot, A. J., Maier, M. A., & Wilkowski, B. M. (2012). Color in Context: Psychological Context Moderates the Influence of Red on Approach- and Avoidance-Motivated Behavior.Plos ONE, 7(7), 1-5.
KILINÇ, N. (2011). CLOTHING COLOR PREFERENCES OF BOYS AND GIRLS AGED BETWEEN SIX AND NINE. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 39(10), 1359-1366
Kaya, N., & Epps, H. H. (2004). Relationship between Color and Emotion: A Study of College Students. College Student Journal,38(3), 396-405.