BY: CAPRI MILLS
Hi! My name is Capri Mills. I'm a junior in high school and have a passion for science, psychology, and writing. I also enjoy giving back to the environment and my community in any way I can. After high school, I plan to continue on a neuroscience path throughout college and beyond.
Have you ever noticed that certain logos appear to pop out at you? Or that hotel hallways’ color palettes seem to flow in a timeless manner? This isn’t coincidental- it is exactly the company’s goal. Color psychology is utilized by many different places, all to trick your mind into thinking of something in one way. It is a powerful subliminal tool that can be used to influence mood, increase blood pressure, and even increase metabolism (Cherry). However, it’s important to note that while there is some hype around color psychology, most reactions are based on personal experience, and it cannot be said that one color makes everyone feel the same way (Ciotti).
Still, there is a bit of research to back up the bold statements many color psychology websites and books proclaim. For example, red is usually associated with aggression and anger. It’s been shown that dominance is shown by a flush of red on bare skin in many species of animals, like primates, and fake red bands can mimic this to cause the same dominance response. This is because a testosterone surge produces redness, whereas fear leads to paling (Elliot). But it’s more difficult to produce this kind of evidence for other colors not usually seen in animals, such as purple, so little can be truly proclaimed.
In a more speculative sense, it’s certainly true that people associate different colors with specific holidays, objects, or emotions. In Western culture, red and green are associated with Christmas, and black and orange with Halloween. Pink goes with femininity whereas blue is associated with masculinity. Once again, it is all still very culture-oriented. Black is seen as a deathly sort of color in the Western world; it’s considered the correct color to wear to funerals. On the other side of the spectrum, white is seen as the respectful color to wear to funerals in China.
Although there is still no concrete evidence to back up a lot of color psychology enthusiasts’ claims, there is something to be said about the way certain colors make us feel. But whether it’s biological, culture-oriented, or something else entirely remains quite a mystery. Just watch what you wear.
Cherry, Kendra. "Can Color Affect Your Mood and Behavior?" Verywell Mind. 28 May 2020. Web. 15 June 2021.
Ciotti, Gregory. "Color Psychology: How Colors Influence the Mind." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 June 2021.
Elliot, Andrew J. "Color and Psychological Functioning: A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Work." Frontiers in Psychology. Frontiers Media S.A., 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 15 June 2021.