Social Work Programs

January 30, 2011

What Is Color Psychology

Filed under: — admin @ 4:50 pm

whatiscolorpsychologyHave you ever wondered why people choose certain colors for clothing, for the cars they drive or why we choose different shades of paint for a living room? Why would walking into a pleasantly colored room or waking to a clear blue sky change how we feel? The question presents iteself, “What is Color Psychology?” and how does it affect me? We never studied this in school, but recently some clients asked me about it. There are some books out such as Color Psychology by Birren, How to Heal with Colors by Andrews and Color Therapy by Amber that discuss these ideas.


The study of, how the effects of different shades or coloring can change the way people feel or how they perceive things. This can be easy to see; most of us correlate colors in everyday activities. When we get ready for work, we have to make a decision on what to wear, The color is directly connected to how we feel. If you are feeling confident you might choose something blue, if feeling sophisticated you might choose blacks or grays, if feeling happy and outgoing you might choose yellows or oranges.

The decisions don’t stop there. How about our homes, or cars, or pets or even the food we eat. Have you ever had blue mashed potatoes? Yuk! We relate colors to almost everything we see, feel or touch. We have been conditioned with colorization all our lives like, red means stop, green means go and yellow means, well, proceed with caution. People with Alzheimers Disease are often very tuned to colors when they are disconnected to other forms of cognition.

There are some people who asked the same question, “What is Color Psychology” and have become practitioners in this field and are called color consultants. Color consultants understand the emotional and mental effect colorization can have on the human behavior. The consultant can help us in making decisions on choosing the correct tints or shades to obtain the desired emotional response or reaction. This are advertising books that discuss this and a lot of marketing forums talk about the impact on colors for sales pages and reaching prospects.

Students in this field of study feel that, hues or tints in the red shades are looked at as “exciting and hot” and those of blue and green are “cool and soothing”, pinks for “love and relationship” tans for “warm and cozy’. This is what they mean too many of us however, around the world they can mean an entirely different thing. Reds are a sign of “power” blues are “stability”. In some eastern countries, death is symbolized by white and in western countries it’s black.

Understanding the “what is”, color psychology has been studied and refined to the point that certain colors can trigger many different emotional outbursts such as buying decisions, hunger, excitement, feelings of guilt, hate, happiness, sadness, inclusion or exclusion to name a few. We have been conditioned by it whether we know it or not and it is used daily by companies, advertisers, governments and in daily life to trigger responses in us.

The full comprehensions of, “why” we are affected by this psychological effect are still not completely understood. This is a field that is under a tremendous amount of study, the more studying we do, more is revealed. We have found that ancient cultures use the power of color to heal. For many years this theory was thrown out however, many societies still believe in this method. From what we know of color psychology, could color therapy be that far fetched?

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