What is Color Psychology?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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Color psychology is the study of the effect that colors have on the moods, behavior and feelings of people. Color psychology is a new field of psychology, whose science is not widely accepted by the mainstream. Its use is found primarily in interior decorating and marketing. Individual colors invoke negative or positive feelings which are used to promote products or create a desired atmosphere inside a home or business.

It is important to note that although some ancient civilizations believed color was able to influence people, the first modern scientific research of color psychology has taken place in the West. Color does not exist in a vacuum and different colors have different meanings to different cultures. For example the color green is associated with nature and wealth, whereas in Muslim countries, green is connected to Islam. When practicing color psychology, the cultural context must be considered.

Black is the color of power and authority, and is often associated with mystery, silence and intelligence. It is also usually associated with evil and death. Regardless of which connotation is used, black is expected to inspire strong emotions. White is the color of purity, innocence and cleanliness. If too much white is used, it can promote feelings of isolation. Advertisers and decorators use white in moderation to inspire peaceful feelings in people.


Red is responsible for increasing a person’s heart rate and increasing adrenaline production in the body because it is such an extreme color. Red is the color of love, fire, energy, passion, anger. Red is used to draw attention to something because the eye will naturally look at red first. Orange is the color associated with all things happy, fun and flamboyant. The color is used to inspire trust, warmth and happiness and it has no negative connotations.

Similar to orange, yellow inspires feelings of happiness because the color is associated with sunshine and optimism. Serotonin levels increase in the brain after a person has seen yellow. However, it has been proved that too much yellow can be overpowering and certain shades of yellow may provoke feelings of cowardice. In color psychology, green has multiple meanings that are both positive and negative. On the positive side green is the color of wealth, money, growth, nature, peace and can have a calming effect on people. Negative associations of green include envy and illness.

The color blue arouses thoughts of the sky and the ocean, which are tranquil and peaceful. Marketers and decorators use a good amount of blue because of its tranquil properties and also, darker shades of blue, which display a sense of loyalty. Purples have a reputation of stimulating creativity, imagination, spirituality and compassion. Shades of purple are also used to counter emotional shock and disturbance and be symbols of royalty and sophistication.


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Post 4

Orange would not inspire feelings of peace in the eyes of an Irish Catholic. When I see people wearing Orange, especially on St. Patrick's Day, I consider it an insult to my people. The "Orange men" of Northern Ireland have propagated an age-old conflict in the nation. When deciding what colors to use, it is necessary to recognize that certain colors can always have negative connotations in certain cultures.

Post 3


Black, being the color of night and a lack of vision, often conjures up images of uncertainty and danger in people's minds all over the world, not just in the West. It is indeed sad that this has come to be (consciously or unconsciously) applied to skin color. Even in the Urantia Book, people are shown to have derived from various unnatural colors, such as blue, yellow, orange, etc., and their traits are believed to be tied to their colors. This cultural meme is one which should preferably be done away with.

Post 2

I find the distinction between Black and White in Western culture to be especially dangerous when applied to skin color. People who are "white" are not really white at all, but the world is basically made up of people with skins of varying shades of the same color. When we in the West refer to "black," it often signifies deep darkness, magic, or demonic power, such as in "Black Metal."

Post 1

Red and Purple are often associated with Royalty in the West because Purple was the color of the rich Porphyry used in the Mediterranean. The words for Purple in many languages, including English, derive from Porphyry. Red is often seen as the color of royalty because of its rich connotation. Being the color of Blood, it naturally evokes passion and attracts attention. It was also the color of the Rose which symbolized the house of Lancaster, which was the victorious dynasty in the English War of the Roses. Perhaps White would be the color of Royalty in English tradition had the House of York won that war.

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