Psychology of colours

As far as I can remember, other people have always been asking me about my favourite colour. It was quite weird back in the 80s and 90s for a little girl to choose purple over pink. Even though I have changed several colours on my “favourite” lists, I return to purple periodically. Even the main wall of my first living room was bright purple! And I must tell you, the wall was very high! But… my grandma loved it – in her late 70s!!!

Psychology of colours is based on mental and emotional influence that colours have on every life area of people that are able to perceive colours. Colours fill our visible world. Our surrounding can affect our emotions and mental state. Maybe you have noticed that there are some spaces that disturb you or make you feel unfomfortable while the others make you feel relaxed, calmed. There is a chance that it is caused by colours that are dominating in that space. It was noticed that heart beats faster when a person is looking at red surfaces. Dr. Max Luscher has said: “Whoever shows his colours, his colour flag, shows us where he belongs.” Dr. Luscher has spent years researching the connection between colour preference and personality traits.

The colour that is used the most often, both by normal and mentally disturbed people, is blue. Blue is a colour of sky and hight, truth, the colour of sea, freedom and future. Among all other colours, blue has the greatest effect. Blue is connected to purity, coldness, emptiness, non-material, but also with silence. Kandinsky once said that blue colour attracts a man, just like hight, depth or infinity, and wakes thurst for purity, surrealism and metaphysical in him. Blue surrounding calms, but comparing to green – it does not refresh and does not energize. According to tibethan belief, blue is the colour of wisdom. Blue colour is also a colour of a potential. For Goethe, blue is a colour of contraries, somewhere between stimulus and serenity. In children’s paintings, blue is interpreted as a need for company and in adult’s paintings as a need for higher values, dominance and leading.

Red colour is the next most used colour in normal people, but the most avoided colour in mentally disturbed people. It especially avoided by people with schizophrenia. Children discover red colour first. As this is the colour of blood, red it in vivid conncection with life. It is the colour of fire, fight for freedom, revolution, motion, speed. Since ages, red is the colour of passion, war and internal fire. It is the colour of openness, extraversion, the colour of birth and immortality, the colour of excitement, warmness, strenght and power. Kandinsky claimed thar red colour expresses it’s masculine maturity, determination, aiming, joy and triumph.

Green colour is the third most used colour in normal people and the second in people with schizophrenia. The meaning of green colour is the most difficult to define. It is the calmest colour. It does not move, it does not invite. It has a beneficial effect on the tired sould, but after rest, it can become boring. The strong preference of green always indicates especially cultivated person. The green is the colour of hope and is associated to life. Green is known to have a beneficial effect on the vision receptors and some substances of the eye, and some tones of the green have a beneficial effect on the nervous system. Green is the colour of youth, joy, openness, contact, but it is often associated with immaturity, naivety, inexperience. That is why she is the colour of hope for growth, the colour of optimism.

Yellow is full of sunshine, bright light and sudden joy. Yellow is the colour of maturity, as well as gold, of money. Kandinsky regards it as the colour of superficiality, flutter, vibrancy, while for some authors it is a yellow symbol of understanding. People with schizophrenia use significantly more yellow than healthy people. Yellow is also taken as a color of danger, jealousy and insecurity, but also of duration.

White colour most often symbolizes purity, but also sterility and pedantry. Many do not tolerate white because it disturbs them. The fact is that even some bacteria and viruses run away from white. White provokes fears and unrest in people. White is often associated with snow, cold, onset, emptiness, dullness and silence. In schizophrenia, an increase in the use of white is noted because it splits and separates white.

Black is the most common link between sadness, old age, lifelessness, mortality, discomfort, darkness, indeterminacy, magic and mystery. For Kandinsky, black is nothing, without any possibilities, the end of everything. From the outside, black is the most sonic colour, but with black, every other colour works stronger, more prominent and more precise. Black represents the negation of contact and life, depression, deepest grief, but it can also be a sign of seriousness, security and dignity, and often elegance.

Purple is associated with luxury, wealth, but also spirituality and wisdom. Purple encourages creativity. Gray is a relationship between black and white, a symbol of balance, and often has a regulatory and neutralizing function. Of all the colours, gray is the least eye fatigue. It is the colour of indeterminacy, dusk, fog, compromise, the past, the unknown and the mysterious. People who prefer gray are thought to be insensitive but rational and stable. They are dominated by the process of suppression. People with schizophrenia use significantly less gray and black, but depressed people use dark, aromatic colors much more, because they express their interior and mood. 

Color therapy has long been known to different cultures around the world. Because of the achievements in light therapy, it was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Colour therapy is performed by directing light of different colours towards specific centers in the body for balance. The skin recognizes colour, absorbs it and transmits stimulation through specific biochemical receptors through the body. In therapeutic terms, colours are increasingly used in the treatment of allergies, inflammation, rheumatic pain, migraines, hormonal disorders, and psychological distress, such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and fears. Colours can stimulate, normalize or act soothing.

If you think about your favorite colour from childhood to the present, you may find that you have only loved one colour all your life or your favorite colour has changed over the years. What does that say about you? Think about yourself now that you know what colours represent.

Which one is yours?


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