Psychology of Color


It began with a FaceBook post yesterday by a dear friend: Ok…if someone would let me borrow a fluffy pink tutu, a tiara, a pink teddy bear, and then spin me like a ballerina into a pool of PINK and GLITTER, drag me out and force me to watch a chick flick…Id really appreciate it. 🙂 *collapses*

From Various sources on the web I came up how pink might affect people and posted it on FB. That led to info about two other colors yesterday. Then this morning I took a deeper look into a wider spectrum of color effects and share the Cliffs Notes version here.

There are four psychological primary colors: red, blue, yellow and green.

RED is the most emotionally intense color. It stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing, gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. Pure red is the simplest color, with no subtlety. It is stimulating, friendly and suggests strength, and warmth. At the same time, it can be perceived as demanding, aggressive, defiance, and straining.

BLUE is the color of the mind and is essentially soothing. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. It is serene and mentally calming and the color of clear communication. However, it can also be perceived as cold, unemotional, unfriendly, cold and aloof.

GREEN strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the center of the spectrum, it is the color of balance. We are reassured by green, on a primitive level. It brings harmony, refreshment, rest and restoration. It can also be the color of stagnation, blandness and boredom.

YELLOW is the strongest color, psychologically. The right yellow will lift spirits and self-esteem. It is the color of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Yellow is perceived as strong and creative, but also irrational, fragile, and depressed.

In combination the four primary colors create seven other secondary psychological colors: purple, orange, pink, grey, black, white and brown.

PURPLE – Positive: Spiritual, wealth, authenticity, truth, feminine, romantic. Negative: Introversion, decadence, inferiority, uneasiness, unrest. Rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.

ORANGE – Positive: Comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance, fun. Negative: Deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity.

PINK – Positive: Tranquility, nurture, warmth, femininity, love, sexuality, survival of the species. Negative: Inhibition, emotional claustrophobia, emasculation, physical weakness.

GREY – Positive: Neutrality. Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy. Only color that has no direct psychological properties.

BLACK – Positive: Sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, substance. Negative: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness. (PS: It is a myth that black clothes are slimming).

WHITE – Positive: Hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, efficiency. Negative: Sterility, coldness, barriers, unfriendliness, elitism.

BROWN – Positive: Seriousness, warmth, Nature, earthiness, reliability, support. Negative: Lack of humor, heaviness, lack of sophistication.

For me this info will get filed mentally under “conversation starters”. It was fun and interesting to dig up. I am grateful for the simple comment of a friend that was the catalyst to go find this stuff. (Thanks K.!)

Each day has a color, a smell.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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