Colour psychology is the study of how specific hues affect human behaviour.
The general model relies on six basic principles:
1. Colour can carry a specific meaning.
2. Colour meaning is either based in learned meaning or biologically innate meaning.
3. The perception of a colour causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving.
4. The evaluation process forces colour-motivated behaviour.
5. Colour usually exerts its influence automatically.
6. Colour meaning and effect has to do with context as well.
Increasingly, colour psychology is seen as important in marketing, art, and design. In fact, artists and interior designers have long believed that colour can have a dramatic effect on moods, feelings and emotions. The artist Pablo Picasso once remarked "Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."
Studies into the effect of colour on people have included comparing the response of patients to a red-coloured placebo compared with those given another coloured pill and how exposure to red prior to an exam can affect students’ results. Others have found that some colours are associated with increased blood pressure, increased metabolism, eyestrain and sexual attraction. However, since colour preferences and influences vary between nations, cultures, ages and genders, there is a great need for further research.
Most artists know that colours in the red area of the colour spectrum are known as warm colours; these include red, orange, and yellow. Colours on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colours and include blue, purple, and green.
While warm colours evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility; cool colours are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.
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