What Is Your Favorite Color?

“What is your favorite color?” Perhaps you have a straight forward go-to answer for this question, and you’re very clear on which color best represents you. On the other hand, some may be a hard choice between a few favorites. I once met a person who said she couldn’t choose her favorite color, so she chose black because it was a mix of all colors. Whatever your choice of color, the reason you’re often drawn to it could be because of the psychological effects of color on your conscious and subconscious mind. This theory is known as color psychology.

Color Psychology and the Subconscious

Different colors have different effects on the subconscious
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If colors were signaling feelings and behavioral suggestions to us, what would that look like, and what would each color mean? Moreover, what are the psychological effects of color and how do they affect our subconscious? I’ve lightly mentioned it in Self-Help by Using Fashion Effects to Your Advantage as well, but color psychology is a whole field of study that looks at how colors affect our emotions and behavior. Studies prove that the psychological effects of color are much more potent than we immediately recognize in our day to day lives. For example, when a group of patients took the same exact pill in different colors, the placebo effects of each pill significantly changed depending on the color. If this is true, then it’s worthwhile to reevaluate the colors you surround yourself with and what psychological effects each color may be signaling to your subconscious mind.

Firstly, let’s try and understand some of the universal and general meanings of basic colors.

Psychological Effects of the Color Red

The color red is provocative
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In color psychology, red is the most provocative color for emotions and attracts more attention than any other color. Therefore, the color evokes strong imagery in the subconscious mind. No matter where in the world, biology, cultures, and languages all universally point to the significance of the color red. This is why it’s also the most studied color in science and psychology.

Association: Energy, power, courage, strength, determination, confidence, passion, love, desire, danger, anger, stress, blood, and war.
Reactions: Raises heart rate and blood pressure. Enhances metabolism and libido. Increases respiration rate, enthusiasm, energy, and confidence.

Psychological Effects of the Color Orange

Orange is seen as adventurous in the subconscious mind
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In color psychology, orange is an extroverted, adventurous, and joyful color that carries traits from both red and yellow. Moreover, the color is often linked to the fruit with the same name, and vitamin C. In the subconscious mind, the psychological effects of this color are generally associated with positive and joyful emotions.

Association: Excitement, enthusiasm, adventure, vibrance, warmth, rejuvenation, encouragement, social, confident, overbearing, dependent, inexpensive.
Reactions: Increases appetite, socialization, contentment, and oxygen to the brain. Enhances assurance, happiness, confidence, understanding, and senses of activity.

Psychological Effects of the Color Yellow

Yellow is tied to sunlight
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The eye-catching yellow is the brightest color of the visible spectrum. Therefore, it is often linked to the sun, light, and enlightenment. However, overusing the attention-catching traits can hinder the positive psychological effects of color.

Association: Optimism, clarity, energy, enlightenment, joy, intelligence, analytical thinking, creativity, critical, impatient, impulsive, pessimism, jealousy, cowardice, and deception.
Reactions: Increases mental activity, muscle energy, and confidence. Stimulates the nervous system and memory. Enhances communication, vitality, and vision.

Psychological Effects of the Color Green

Green soothes the subconscious mind
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Green is the color we usually see most in nature representing life, renewal, and growth. Furthermore, in color psychology, it is the most restful color for our eyes to view. Moreover, color therapy frequently utilizes green for its soothing psychological effects on the subconscious mind. Utilizing green in your home interior can help you feel relaxed and refreshed when you come home.

Association: Growth, renewal, balance, calmness, harmony, compassion, hope, fertility, freshness, environment, eco-conscious, health, money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, and mold.
Reactions: Enhances vision, stability, endurance, relaxation, and youthfulness. Alleviates anxiety, depression, and nervousness.

Psychological Effects of the Color Blue

Blue evokes imagery of the ocean
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Blue is the color of the sky and ocean – the open space in our natural environment where we find tranquility to reduce stress. It is also a popular color choice for corporate logos, suits, and uniforms, such as police outfits. This is because the psychological effects of the color blue evokes images of trust, safety, and calming authority. In color psychology, blue makes it easier to pursue mentally-strenuous endeavors and can be helpful when studying.

Association: Trust, dependability, stability, confidence, intelligence, sincerity, freedom, tranquility, intuition, imagination, coolness, sensitivity, melancholy, negativity, and sadness.
Reactions: Enhances thought, concentration, rest, and stimulates chemicals that are calming. Slows metabolism, cools temperature and balances self-expression. Suppresses appetite.

Psychological Effects of the Color Purple

Purple is both warm and cool in color psychology
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Purple has a mix of red and blue. This means that the psychological effects of this color holds both cooling and warming properties, depending on its use. In nature, purple is a rare color to see, and are therefore considered a sacred and precious color in flowers. Moreover, purple has commonly symbolized royalty throughout history around the world. In color psychology, it is believed that the scarcity of purple in nature contributed to this association.

Association: Luxury, royalty, power, nobility, dignity, devotion, independence, wisdom, creativity, ambition, peace, pride, feminine, spirituality, sacred, magic mystery, sadness, and frustration.
Reactions: Calms the subconscious mind and nerves. Enhances imagination, creativity, and feelings of spirituality. Increases nurturing tendencies and sensitivity.

Psychological Effects of the Color White

White is a color that influences our psychology
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Some may say that white is technically not a true color. Regardless, it’s a shade that contributes to all values of color as brightness. It is also important in color psychology, with significant psychological effects. White is still as significant to include on this list because it gives us a feeling that speaks to our subconscious mind, just like all other colors do.

Association: Purity, innocence, light, heaven, faith, brilliance, neutrality, simplicity, cleanliness, new beginnings, possibility, softness, emptiness, isolation, absence, boredom, sterility, and indecision.
Reactions: Increases mental clarity, senses of sophistication, fresh beginnings, and cleanliness. Encourages purification of thoughts and actions. White can affect perceptions of aggression in competitive sports and causes headaches when the white is extremely bright.

Psychological Effects of the Color Black

Black has both positive and negative associations
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Black, like white, is considered a shade more than a color and adds depth values to all colors. Although frequently associated with darkness, the psychological effects of the color black has both positive and negative associations in color psychology.

Association: Power, authority, formality, seriousness, sophistication, seduction, withheld, mysteriousness, darkness, fear, death, evil, aggression, pessimism, depression, rebellion, endings, and beginnings.
Reactions: Enhances feelings of inconspicuousness, power, potential, possibility, emptiness, gloom, and or aggression. Slimming effect on visual perception. Influences perceived attractiveness and fashionability.

Your Subconscious Interpretations of Color

Beautiful colors are interpreted differently in your subconscious mind
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The meaning and reaction to colors on this color psychology list are subjective to cultural backgrounds and personal experiences. In addition, the psychological effect of color can have both positive or negative implications in our subconscious mind, depending on the context of delivery. Also keep in mind that our understanding of a color varies widely depending on how we’ve seen the color being used in our environment.

Let me give a few examples of how this applies. For example, in Western cultures, white is worn at weddings as a sign of purity. However, in some Eastern cultures, white is worn to funerals. In other words, these two occasions evoke a completely different response to the color white, depending on which meaning you are more accustomed to. The psychological effects of the color red can be negative and threatening to the subconscious mind when worn by an opponent in a competitive setting. On the other hand, if a person of potential interest wears red, it becomes a positive symbol of attractiveness. If you put a lot of yellow in the children’s room because you want to spark creativity and joy for them, beware; studies show that an intense use of yellow can actually cause babies to cry more.

You may think, “Hm, these findings make the use of color more complex and difficult”. But don’t overthink it. The most important thing is to analyze how these colors make you feel and what they mean to you personally. You’d be surprised at how much your subconscious mind can tell you about the personal psychological effects of each color.

Intentional Use of Color Psychology

Use of bright colors can impact your subconscious mind
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A simple color we choose may say more about how we associate that color in the subconscious mind. In other words, the psychological effects of color are all around us, affecting our everyday lives in subtle ways. If we learn what feelings each color evokes and how it can change our behavior, then we can use this to our advantage. For example, you could change the color scheme within your home to promote better relaxation, or coordinate an event with accent colors that hint a fun and social atmosphere. Otherwise, you could put a new colorful object on your desk for better concentration, or change the colors of your wardrobe. Regardless of execution, a simple color swap can be the one-degree change in trajectory that pushes you towards your next goal.

If we learn what feelings each color evokes, we can use this to our advantage
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References:

Bourn, J. (2011). Color Meaning Archives. Retrieved June 26, 2020, from https://www.bourncreative.com/tag/color-meaning/

Color Psychology – The Ultimate Guide to Color Meanings. (2019, November 17). Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://www.colorpsychology.org/

de Craen, A. J. M., Roos, P. J., de Vries, A. L., & Kleijnen, J. (1996). Effect of colour of drugs: systematic review of perceived effect of drugs and of their effectiveness. BMJ, 313(7072), 1624–1626. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7072.1624

Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. A. (2014). Color Psychology: Effects of Perceiving Color on Psychological Functioning in Humans. Annual Review of Psychology, 65(1), 95–120. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115035

Renk Etkisi | The Effect of Color | The Effects of Colors on Children. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2020, from http://renketkisi.com/en/the-effects-of-colors-on-children.html

About the Author

SELF

As a writer, worked on many medical-related articles based on academic papers. Specializes in articles on mental health and stress care.

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