Sir Isaac Newtown discovered that pure white light is made up of color. Each color is composed of a single wavelength which cannot be divided further into any different color. Together they make white light. Further research found that light could be combined to create other colors. Sunlight is made of seven basic colors — Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet (ROY G BIV). You can see this in action for yourself if you catch a sunbeam shining through a hanging crystal or when you see a rainbow.
Each of our brains make associations with color. Culture, memory and learned behavior have an impact on our perception of color. Through experience, we make memories – and because color is everywhere, emotion-color association happens. Every day we are being exposed to colors. Our perception of how color feels to us as individuals vary depending on the association we make with the color.
For me GREEN is the color of happiness! This love affair goes way back for me associated with childhood happiness while exploring nature. GREEN is a symbol of pride for my Irish ancestry. The same joy overcomes me when I see the color of the GREEN grass, my favorite GREEN sandals, or a scoop of GREEN mint chip ice cream… It is deep breathing pure happiness! Culturally, I relate it to luck, growth, celebration, and abundance.
For others, the same GREEN may trigger memories of illness, monsters, or exhaustion associated with caring for that same nature that I associate with gleeful happy exploration. GREEN may be culturally associated with negative connotations; therefore the association is scary and something negative and even to be feared.
One of my favorite examples of how color associated with culture, memory and perception is WHITE. In Western Cultures WHITE is associated with weddings, purity, and cleanliness. However, in Asian cultures WHITE the color of death, mourning, and humility.
A lot of color psychology evidence is unreliable and based on personal accounting rather than facts. There have been only a few relevant observations/discoveries about how color effects feelings, behavior, and mood. Most psychologists can agree that color effects perception. Some argue that the colors we associate with feelings that are learned. While color perceptions may be subjective, some colors seem to have universal meaning.
For example: warm colors evoke emotions ranging from warmth and comfort to anger and hostility; cool colors are mostly calming but may suggest sadness or indifference.
Ancient cultures used Chromotherapy. Chromotherapy uses different colors to heal, help, or enhance different things. It remains in use today. Even home improvement has gone beyond paint colors and discovered the benefits of color offering Chromotherapy bathtubs and spas. And advancements in original energy-saving light bulbs have made a swift switch from cool to warm — increasing sales.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using color for centuries. Cold (Yin)and heat (Yang), essential oppositions, are essential to create balance and used in the foods consumed and in the environment for creating warm and cool energy.
How do you emotionally respond to color?