Effects of Color Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 3 June 2017

Effects of Color

Colors are a part of one’s everyday life and are introduced into one’s life starting at birth. For example, when a baby is born, the baby is showered with gifts and the color of the gifts is determined by his or her gender (e. g. , blue for boys and pink for girls). Children often are dressed in colors associated with their gender. Furthermore, as individuals age and as their vocabulary increases, they tend to learn about associations between moods and colors and sometimes make those associations for themselves.

For example, “I’m red with rage” or “I’ve got the blues” are common phrases used when describing feelings. Most research about the psychology of colors involves preference or association between colors and moods, and thus, the present study seeks to examine whether manipulating the colors of questionnaires will influence one’s self-reported mood. Mood An individual’s mood can be described as depicting an individual’s emotional state which is divided into two broad dimensions: positive and negative affect.

Positive affect is characterized as the extent to which one experiences pleasurable engagement with the environment (Clark, Watson, &ump; Leeka, 1989). On the other hand, negative affect is characterized as subjective distress and negative emotional states (Clark et al. , 1989). Moreover, one who is high in positive affect is low in negative affect, and vice versa. Descriptors of positive affect include: active, alert, attentive, enthusiastic, interested, joyful, etc. Negative affect descriptors include: afraid, nervous, hostile, guilty, sad, etc.

Preferences of Color and Emotional State Meerum Terwogt and Hoeksma (1995) examined whether individuals’ separate preference order for colors and emotions is used when making connections between colors and emotions. The authors used three age groups: seven year olds, 11-year olds, and adults. The results suggest that as one ages, the effect of color and emotion preferences on their association decreases, especially during adulthood. Moreover, adults were less likely to associate blue with happiness even though both were rank high in their preference scale.

Rather the adults tended to link yellow and happiness together even though yellow was not their preferred color. Thus, Meerum Terwogt and Hoeksma (1995) seem to suggest that there is more to associating emotions to color than just preference, and that specific colors may have a certain meaning to an adult regardless of whether or not he or she likes the color. Associating Colors to Emotional States Bright colors are found to be associated with more pleasant and positive responses (Hemphill, 1996; Kaya &ump; Epps, 2004; Valdez &ump; Mehrabian, 1994).

Valdez and Mehrabian (1994) found blue to be the most pleasant hue, and yellow to be the least pleasant hue. Hemphill (1996) and Kaya and Epps (2004) examined color-emotion associations and found that brighter colors (e. g. , white, pink, red, yellow, blue, purple, and green) pulled for more positive responses than darker colors (e. g. , brown, black, and gray). Positive responses were related to feelings of happiness, excitement, relaxation, peace, and calmness. Hemphill (1996) found that blue, green, red, and yellow had the highest number of positive responses in that order.

Kaya and Epps (2004) found that green had the highest number of positive responses followed closely by yellow then blue followed by red. Both Hemphill (1996) and Kaya and Epps (2004) found blue to be associated with calmness and relaxation, and gray to be associated with feelings of sadness, depression, boredom, and confusion. Hemphill (1996) found red to be associated with excitement, while Kaya and Epps (2004) found red to be associated with both positive and negative responses (i. e. , romance and love, and fight and blood).

Kaya and Epps (2004) found yellow to be mostly related to happiness and excitement. Effects of Colors on Moods While most of the previously mentioned studies examined individuals’ preferences and associations of moods to colors, the participants appeared to be well aware of the fact that the researchers were specifically investigating the relationship between colors and emotional states. Thus, it is important to examine whether colors can subtly influence one’s mood without directly asking the participants to link the color to an emotion.

Jacobs and Suess (1975) examined the effect of four primary colors (i. e. , red, yellow, green, and blue) on one’s anxiety state by having the participants look at one color at a time on a screen and then fill out an anxiety inventory for each color. They found that red and yellow had significantly higher anxiety state scores compared to blue and green. In addition, Kuller, Ballal, Laike, Mikellides, and Tonello (2006) examined whether color has an impact on one’s mood in his or her work environment.

The authors examined countries at different latitudes and at different seasons in order to account for mood changes during the dark seasons. Kuller et al. (2006) found that individuals who had colorful work environments rated their emotional status as higher throughout the year. However, most of the work environments were neutral or subdued, and thus, the authors suggest that a moderate increase of color in work environments will be beneficial for employees’ moods.

Weller and Livingston (1988) examined whether the colored paper of the questionnaires affected the participants’ responses to three vignettes describing a murder or rape. The colors used for the questionnaires were pink, blue, and white, and the participants were randomly assigned the colored questionnaires. The authors found that the pink questionnaires had less emotional responses than did the blue questionnaires; thus, suggesting that pink is a calmer color than blue which is contradictory to previously mentioned studies associating blue to relaxation and calmness.

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