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How Color Affects The Brain

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Colors Can Influence Your Emotions And Mental State

How Colors Effect Your Brain: Color Psychology

Our brain faces several challenges simultaneously at all times. We are subjected to many stimuli and carry out a nearly infinite number of different tasks each day. It doesnt give us time to process everything we grasp through our senses.

Therefore, the unconscious associations we develop on such fundamental aspects of reality as colors or shapes save us a great deal of time since they are processed automatically.

In addition, we are deeply emotional. Colors interact with our memory, awaken feelings, and guide our reasoning. They remind us of nice things like those gray, yellow, and orange rain boots we had as children, or they can irritate us when we see a sweater of our ex-partners favorite color.

For example, it is unnecessary to know in depth the theories about the psychology of color to know that colors such as pink and red are associated with love, especially romantic love. If we enter an establishment with this combination of colors, likely, we will suddenly remember how in love we are and that a particular person deserves a special little something.

How Colors Impact Moods Feelings And Behaviors

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long believed that color can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions. “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” the artist Pablo Picasso once remarked.

Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. Certain colors have been associated with increased blood pressure, increased metabolism, and eyestrain. So how exactly does color work? How is color believed to impact mood and behavior?

How Color Affects Our Brain

Color is everywhere. Its how we perceive the world, and each color can convey different meanings to different people. Outside of personal meaning, its become popular to attach emotions to various colors, such as how yellow makes us anxious and red makes us excited.

But how much of that is backed by science? How exactly does the spectrum of color affect the brain?

How do we see color?

In plain terms, we see colors when light wavelengths interact with a particular object. Some objects absorb light, while others reflect the wavelengths back. Color then is the brain translating the reflection. The variation of color occurs because different light rays emit greater wavelength than others. Each wavelength is associated with a specific color, and also determines how visible these colors appear from a distance. For example, the color red has the longest wavelength, which means it can be viewed from the greatest distance.

However, the meanings we attach to colors can be determined by a wide variety of things. Culture, societal leanings, personal preference, and even parental or peer influence play significant roles.

For example, white is the most preferred color for a wedding gown in the western hemisphere, but in South Asia, several communities regard it as the color of mourning and are expected to wear white when their loved ones die. Blue is consistently chosen as a universal favorite, yet it frequently gets marketed as a masculine color, signaling products meant for men.

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The Color Psychology Of Black

Black isn’t a primary, secondary, or tertiary color. In fact, black isn’t on the color wheel because it isn’t considered a color. It’s all colors. Or rather, the absorption of all colors. Black absorbs all light in the color spectrum.

According to color psychology, color-related emotion is highly dependent on your personal preference and past experiences with that particular color. The color black is no different.

Get An Overview Of All Your Colors

Using Color Psychology to Build Effective Training ...

When using different colors to study, make a side by side representation of the colors you have on hand. This will give you an idea as to how the color looks on paper and you can then choose the one you like the best, which are most intense and pigmented. Select bold colors based on the color of the text.

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Consider How Color Affects Your Brain When Decorating

There have been many studies about how certain colors affect the brain, such as orange and red stimulating impulsive actions. While choosing your interior décor and color schemes, it is important to keep these observations in mind, because you could unknowingly sabotage your mind when entering certain rooms. Keep reading to learn how certain colors may affect your brain.

Blue Is Calming

When designing your custom home and color scheme, determine which rooms should be calming. This might include your home office, bathrooms, bedrooms, or creative rooms. By painting these rooms in a blue color scheme, you will feel rested, more centered, and more hopeful. These are great emotions while working at home or creating art in a studio.

Red Is Passionate

Red is a color often associated with passion and impulse. This color should be used sparingly and only in areas that will benefit from a lot of energy. Areas near your entrances or backyard could use red pieces of décor or painted accent walls.

Orange is Stimulating

Orange is similar to red, because it is a stimulating and energetic color. Orange, along with red, are often used in the fast food industrys marketing schemes because it can stimulate the areas of the brain that desire food. Plan with an experienced interior decorator on where orange accents should be in your house. These will be stimulating and should be used sparingly throughout your home.

Black Is Aggressive

Which Colors Boost Memory

According to a study in University of British Columbia, certain colors can help with concentration, attention span and hence facilitate memory retention and learning. The study concluded that Red and Blue colors are the best for enhancing cognitive skills and improving brain function. Red was much better than blue as far as detail oriented tasks, and memory retention were concerned by as much as 31%. The researchers also concluded that thanks to red being the color of teachers pen, stop sign and danger it helped students avoid mistakes. Students invariably tend to pay careful attention in order to avoid wrong answers since red heightened their attention and made them more vigilant naturally.

Here are some tips on how to use colors to study well and boost memory

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What Does The Color Blue Mean

The color blue is the one the most people name as their favorite. According to Color Psychology, blue symbolizes harmony, fidelity, sympathy, peace, serenity, trust, honesty, or communication. It should not surprise us that several social networks use it in their logos.

But not all are advantages blue also seems cold and distant. It is often unappetizing in foods . And it may also make us suspicious.

Even so, it is still ideal for many uses, such as painting a room with a relaxing tone.

What Color Therapy Can Help With

Does Color Really Affect How You Act?

Color therapy has a host of uses. Theres some evidence to suggest that it can help with some of the following conditions:

  • Stress
  • Certain cancers
  • Skin infections

Color therapy is a form of alternative medicine treatment, and a lot more research still needs to be done into its effectiveness in treating the above conditions.

There is currently no research to support that color therapy can solely be used as an effective treatment for any of these conditions.

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The Effects Of Colors On Children

Colors affect the bodily functions, mind and emotions with theenergy produced by light. Studies conductedclearly demonstrate the benefits of colors where the development of the brain, creativity, productivity and learning are concerned. The effects of color on human beings can be varied causing excitement, lending calm, giving inspiration, raising anxiety or tension or giving peace are some of these effects. These effects can be observed more distinctly in children. Children can be more sensitive to colors. For this reason it is quiteimportant to choose colors appropriate for children. Using an intense red color in the room, of an anxious child, or dressing them in red clothes or giving them a red rucksack could make him/her even more restless and tense. The same holds true for very active children as well.When the energetic color red is used on or around a very active child, the combination could lead to a child who is excessively active all day long. This could also affect their educational success negatively. It would be more appropriate to use blue, green and purple in the belongings of energetic and restless children.

Color Coordination + Conversions

Debunking the best color for conversion rates on websites has recently been a very popular topic . They make some excellent points, because it is definitely true that there is no single best color for conversions.

The psychological principle known as the Isolation Effect states that an item that “stands out like a sore thumb” is more likely to be remembered. Research clearly shows that participants are able to recognize and recall an item far better when it blatantly sticks out from its surroundings.

The studies Aesthetic Response to Color Combinations and Consumer Preferences for Color Combinations also find that while a large majority of consumers prefer color patterns with similar hues, they favor palettes with a highly contrasting accent color.

In terms of color coordination , this would mean creating a visual structure consisting of base analogous colors and contrasting them with accent complementary colors .

Another way to think of this is to utilize background, base and accent colors to create a hierarchy on your site that coaches customers on which color means take action.

Why this matters: Although you may start to feel like an interior decorator after reading this section, this stuff is actually incredibly important in helping you understand the why behind conversion jumps and slumps. As a bonus, it will help keep you from drinking the conversion rate optimization Kool-Aid that misleads so many people.

Why We Love Mocha but Hate Brown

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What Does The Color Brown Mean

The color brown can represent laziness, sloth, dirt, vulgarity, or ugliness. It may seem bland and dated. Brown is often one of the least appreciated colors.

However, brown is a color that has a significant presence around us and awakens multiple associations. It is the color of wood and autumn. It reminds us of resistant, warm, and pleasant homes. It is also found in foods such as chocolate, and having a tan tone is highly valued in many western cultures today.

The Meaning Of Colors

Color Psychology: How Different Colors Affect Our ...

How do colors affect moods? While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, some effects have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the spectrum can be yellow-based such as scarlet red and red-orange are known as warm colors. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of comfort and warmth to feelings of hostility and anger. Reds can also have an undertone of blue and are known as cool colors such as burgundy, ruby, raspberry, deep cherry. These colors are often described as calm but can also call to mind seriousness and dignity.

The subject is well documented, so well take a look at some personal and professional connotations associated with six of the rainbow colors to give you a better understanding of the psychology of colors.

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Colors Influence Us Physiologically

Color does not only affect our psychological and emotional state but also our body. Consistent with psychologically preparing for danger, red is known to heighten physiological alertness. It activates our nervous system and thus increases the heart rate and the amount of adrenaline circulating in our bloodstream. This fight-or-flight response enables us to react faster.

Also, the previously mentioned relaxing effect of cool colors like blue and green leads to physiological changes. They calm the body, and for example, reduce respiration and lower the blood pressure. Therefore, surgeons often dress in green or blue.

The power of colors goes even further. The color of a medical drug seems to have an impact on its effectiveness. Red, yellow and orange pills are associated with stimulating effects blue, green and purple with relaxing, or even numbing effects.

A study investigated the impact of color on the placebo effect. All participants believed that they were given stimulating drugs, even though they all got placebos. One group got warm-colored pills, and the other group got cool-colored ones. The findings showed that the placebo effect was stronger in people receiving pills of warm colors than for those who received cool-colored ones.

What You Should Remember About Colors

Get your marker and highlight this: colors, if chosen wisely, can have a significant impact. Color can affect how memorable something is, guide attention, evoke emotions, and even influence motor function and performance. Keep in mind that these effects can differ between cultures and contexts.

To get a better idea of how emotions link with the success of your marketing campaign, read our article about emotional marketing campaigns. Moreover, if you want to know more about guiding visual attention, you will find this article on visual cues very insightful.

A little food-for-thought to end with: color is not only associated with what we see. In our mind, certain tastes, scents and sounds are represented in specific colors. The more consistent you are, the stronger the emotional and physiological effects of color on behavior. Now that you master the effects of colors on behavior you might want to read about the effects of music on your revenue.

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How Colorsaffect Children

In addition to affecting our mood, emotions and actions, color also affects the ambiance of a space as well as how big or small, coldly or warmly it is perceived. Colors are the most commonly used tool by children to express their emotions and thoughts. Although the preferences of children show a general commonality based on age group, their color choices can differ based on their moods, the way they express themselves and their feelings. Children need to be educated in areas that bolster their creativity and imagination. Due to the fact that classrooms are the most important means of serving this purpose they rank foremost among the factors that require our attention the most. The links in the brain are not completed in a child until 5 to 6 years of age and they take 1 more year to mature. Due to not being able to read and write at this age they rely more on visual material to establish communication. Thus color is an important tool of expression for them.

How We See Color

Color Psychology: Understanding How Color Choices Affects Our Behavior

We don’t actually see colors with our eyes. We see colors with our brains. Our eyes are important for detecting and responding to light, but it is the brain‘s visual center in the occipital lobes that processes visual information and assigns color. The colors we see are determined by the wavelength of light that is reflected.

Visible color wavelengths range from about 380 nanometers to about 750 nanometers. Different colors along the visible light spectrum have different wavelengths. For example, red has wavelengths ranging from 620-750 nm, yellow from 570-590 nm, and blue from 450-495 nm. Our eyes are equipped with special called rods and cones. Rods are more sensitive to light than cones and allow us to see in dim light. Rods are not able to detect color. Cones detect a range of color light wavelengths.

Our eyes have three types of cones: blue, green, and red. The red cones are most sensitive to red wavelengths, blue cones to blue wavelengths, and green cones to green wavelengths. When a color is reflected from an object, the light wavelength hits the eyes and cones send signals to the visual cortex of the brain for processing. Our brain associates the wavelength with a color. Although our eyes have three cone types, the different wavelengths of light detected by the cones overlap. The brain integrates these overlapping wavelength signals sent from cones enabling us to distinguish between millions of different colors.

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Misconceptions Around The Psychology Of Color

Why does color psychology invoke so much conversation, but is backed with so little data?

As research shows, its likely because elements such as personal preference, experiences, upbringing, cultural differences, context, etc., often muddy the effect individual colors have on us. So the idea that colors such as yellow or purple are able to evoke some sort of hyper-specific emotion is about as accurate as your standard Tarot card reading.

Its time to take a look at some research-backed insights on how color plays a role in persuasion.

How To Use Color To Improve Your Memory

Did you know that you recall color more than objects or words? To prove this to yourself, think back on, say, your first date with your spouse. Do you remember more what he or she said or wore? More than likely, you remember the color he or she wore on the date. Thats because the brain recalls color more easily than words.

With this information, use color to your advantage. When studying, highlight text online or on paper with specific colors. This will help you recall the information later better than you would if no color was involved.

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Why Businesses Should Prioritise The Right Colors

Studying colours for ads is a standard practise now. However, its a lot more than just thinking about which colors combine nicely.

Its not enough to understand that colors attract more customers and sales. Designers need to know why and which colors do that.

Knowing the relationship between color and the brain is vital for successful marketing.

Consumers might base their purchase decision solely on color, which means you could use the best copywriting and still miss something out. Color psychology could be more important than sales copy.

Remember, colors are still information for our brain. Using too many of them could cause a sensory overload. If you dont know how colors affect the brain, you could be missing many sales.

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