The Psychology of Color

The Psychology of Color

By Caitlin Chen | Staff Writer

Although color psychology, the study of how colors affect human behavior, may sound like a hippie project devoted to finding inner peace via tie-dyed lava lamps, studies have shown that color schemes do affect human behavior. Below are several common colors and their common associations.


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Pink is believed to have a calming effect. Enterprising Iowa coach Hayden Fry had the Kinneck Stadium visitors’ lockers room painted pink, to keep opposing teams passive and sluggish. Buses painted their seats pink and enjoyed declined rates of vandalism. However, researchers reported that aggressive prison inmates held in bright pink cells were initially calmed but became agitated when they became accustomed to the color.


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People surrounded by red find their hearts beating a little faster and often report feeling a bit out of breath. Red excites people, so it is considered the wrong color for bedroom walls. People who wear red clothing are easier to notice and may appear heavier.



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Orange stimulates the appetite. Many restaurants use various shades of orange to encourage customers to eat and drink more. Orange is often used in food packaging draw customer attention.



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Yellows reflect high amounts of light, leading to eye fatigue. Studies have shown that using yellow as computer or paper backgrounds can lead to eyestrain or vision loss. Yellow can also create feelings of frustration and anger.



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Green is the easiest color on the eye and improves vision. This color calms people; in fact, television programs often allow their guests to relax in green rooms before performing. Additionally, researchers have discovered that green improves reading comprehension and speed.



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Dieters often use blue plates to suppress their appetites because blue is often associated with rotting or spoiling food. Research has shown that people who work in blue offices are more productive. Blue is a calming color that lowers blood pressure and eases stress, making it a good color for bedrooms.