Psychology and Color

The color produced by light is a kind of an energy. This energy affects both the functions of our body as well as our mind and emotions. Although the eye is the organ of sight, studies conducted suggest that in reality the brain perceives the image. The image is observed and transmitted to the related part of the brain by millions of nerve endings in the retina of the eye, leading to the perception of the image. Thanks to studies conducted with the use of advanced technology, we now know that color affects brain waves, the autonomic nervous system and hormonal activity and stimulates various emotions. In other words, we react both physiologically and psychologically to color.

There is a connection between our brain and our actions. Depending on how the brain is stimulated, a person can be rendered happy, angry, sad or anxious. The central nervous system is the main control center of human actions. According to studies, each stimulus received by the nerve cells first affects the brain stem then the entire nervous system. Human beings are subjected to many stimuli, including sight during the day. These stimuli can be small or very large in number.
(Mahnke, 1993)

 The Effect of Color in Psychology

Colors affect the bodily functions, mind and emotions with the energy produced by light. Studies conducted have demonstrated the benefits of colors where the development of brain, creativity, productivity and learning are concerned.

European doctor Ponza conducted various experiments in 1875 by using colored glass, walls and furniture in various rooms. The colors Ponza used were red and blue. A man refusing to eat for days started desiring food. An aggressive patient put in a blue room calmed down in a period of one hour.

In 1942 Goldstein examined the effect of color on organisms, conducted studies on patients and observed the colors that had positive and negative effects. One of the most important studies is related to the Parkinson patients. While the color red caused a deterioration in the pathological problem observed in Parkinson patients, green led to improvements. Brain damaged patients also reacted negatively to the color red.

In 1957, red was discovered to have a more stimulating effect on visual activity and autonomic nervous system functions in comparison to blue.

In 1974 K.W. Jacobs and F.E. Hustmyer demonstrated red to be more stimulating than green and green more stimulating than blue and yellow. According to this study, colors in long wavelength are more stimulating than those in short wavelength. According to these studies a person left in a red room is continuously stimulated; however the effect is not a permanent one. The reactions of the person’s body return to normal after a period of time after he leaves the red room.

Being subject to excessive stimuli can cause changes in breathing pattern, pulse, blood pressure and muscle tension. On the other hand, too little stimuli can lead to anxiousness, sleeplessness, excessive emotional reaction, loss of concentration and nervousness. For example, a completely white environment leads to lack of stimulus and this, contrary to expectations, does not cause a balanced or neutral effect.

In 1976 Rikard Kuller demonstrated that colors affect not only the outer layer of the brain but the entire central nervous system as well.

In studies, colors have been shown to change alpha brain waves. According to EEG and pulse measuring systems, men and women react differently to colors. When color is transmitted from the eye to the brain, the brain releases a hormone affecting the emotions, mind clarity and energy levels. The negative and positive psychological effects of colors can be observed in human beings based on the combinations in which they are used.

In a study conducted on men and women by Kuller in 1981, color was shown to have a great effect on EEG and heart rate, as well as the emotional perception of objects.