Exploring The Psychological Impacts Of Colour

Colour does more than just brighten up or darken something. It’s believed that it can actually have a variety of psychological impacts, as different colours affect people in different ways.

Understanding this can shape the way you live your life, from what clothes you wear to how you design your home. That’s why we’ve done a little digging to see exactly how colours might be influencing our minds.

Psychological Impacts Of Colour

chromotherapy by nature

Warm And Cool

When people describe colours, they sometimes refer to them as being warm or cool. In the former group, you get things like red, orange, and yellow, while blue, green, and purple are associated with the latter. It’s believed that the temperature of a color can have an emotional impact on people, with warmer colours inciting more aggressive responses and cooler ones invoking calmer or sadder ones. That’s why red is often associated with anger while blue tends to represent sorrow.

So Many Emotions

Although colours are believed to impact us based on whether they’re warm or cool, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Each colour is unique, and what it apparently does to our minds can differ wildly. Green can inspire optimism, red can excite people, and brown can create a feeling of stability. Given the range of thoughts and emotions they can summon, it’s no wonder that modern art is always so captivating. The range of colours used likely send a lot of different signals to our brain, as evidenced by works like this modern art by Jessica Hendrickx. Some of these pieces boast such a wide variety of colours that they must evoke some pretty powerful responses from people.

Psychological Impacts Of Colour red adrenaline painting

Abstract Underwater Painting – Adrenaline | Original painting by Jessica Hendrickx

Medical Application

For years, people have believed that colours have the power to heal through chromotherapy. Obviously, this isn’t something that’s made its way into mainstream medicine, because doctors prefer to prescribe things like antibiotics and bed rest. However, there are people who practice chromotherapy as a holistic treatment and believe it has the power to heal in the same way as crystals or herbs might do. In terms of their properties, each colour is believed to have a different effect, with yellow allegedly good for purification while orange can apparently boost energy levels. Although the success of chromotherapy is hotly debated, it’s possible that colour may well influence our minds enough o make us feel better.

An Impact on Performance

Not only can colours supposedly make us feel a certain way or heal us, it’s possible that they could also affect our ability to perform. Some research has been done into this, including one study that examined the effect of red on performance. The results suggested that students who were exposed to red before a test scored 20% lower than those who were shown other colours. Although other factors might have influenced this, further research could prove that different colours can alter performance in one way or the other.

Everyone is different, so the effect a color has on you may be more or less intense than it is for someone else. Still, while some of the evidence into the psychological impact of colours might not be fully concrete yet, it’s clear that those warm and cool tones can have quite the impact on us.


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