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HOW COLORS STIMULATE OUR VISUAL EXPERIENCES

Updated: Aug 12

This is an article “How Colors Stimulate our Visual Experiences” by Marc Primo Warren


Back in 2004, an interesting study was conducted by the Secretariat Seoul international Color Expo which looked into the undeniable connection between color and marketing. Unsurprisingly, most consumers who took part in the study said that visual factors of a brand contributed the most to their purchasing decisions. Only 5.6% said that touch mattered, and less than 1% relied on hearing and smell. But more than this, the study also revealed more fascinating facts about color that most people wouldn’t have thought of previously.



The psychology of color in relation to our life experiences dates way before Sir Isaac Newton discovered the color spectrum during the mid 17th century. Egyptians analyzed colors thousands of years ago and discovered how it can affect mood, behavior, and how it holds beneficial properties to how people accomplish things.


So, just how do colors stimulate our visual experiences and influence us to do certain things, adapt to a certain feeling, and conjure ideas in our minds? Here are the answers.


Color therapy


“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions”.


That’s how legendary abstract artist Pablo Picasso defined the way color affects all of us. So true was the statement that experts eventually found out how some colors can give most people anxiety, while certain colors can increase others’ blood pressure. Fortunately, color can also be used for therapy.


Ancient cultures (particularly the Egyptians and Chinese), used colors to heal. Chromotherapy, more commonly known as light therapy, is an alternative treatment that uses various hues to manifest a desired physical effect.


For people who want to stimulate their bodies and minds or regulate blood circulation, red can be very useful. Purification and nerve management is associated with yellow, while orange can do a lot for respiratory systems and give you an energy boost.


Color therapy can also be used for mental health improvement by balancing an individual’s central energies or chakras. Ancient Greek and Roman cultures are well-known for using solarium rooms or colored glass rooms in hospitals or sanitariums, which are intended to heal patients.

Psychological effects on the human behavior


While complex and can vary among individuals, the effect of colors on human behavior has long been studied by experts in the aim to discover how they can influence what we may think, say, or do. Scientists have long associated colors with certain cultures and specific meanings, mostly in the form of automatic color evaluations based on how we have innately perceived their meanings in relation to history or experience.


However, individuals can also change their moods using specific colors that they alone perceive to be soothing and relaxing or upbeat and energetic. This means that the psychological effects of colors can differ from person to person. That’s why we all have our own favorite colors. Studies have also shown that people who wear their favorite colored shirts display a boost in confidence and emotional improvement.


How colors affect the brain


Most psychologists believe that colors have a direct effect on the human mind and how we perceive our surroundings. Our vision balances light and color so that a physiological effect happens and influences our mood and emotions.


However, colors can take on various definitions for different people. Red can make some feel aggressive and some happy, while green can either signify money or cleanliness depending on who’s looking at what. These signals that our eyes send to our brains are what intrigue scientists to further study how colors stimulate our thoughts whether based on transition, intuition, or recall.


By reviewing all of these factors, we can understand that the more we familiarize ourselves with how colors work in various contexts, the more it can help us determine exactly what messages are being conveyed by the sender.


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