The Psychology of How Color Affects Lives

What we think about colors, especially what we think subconsciously about them throughout our lives, affects us on some very intrinsic levels. I think most will agree that humans, in general, are highly visual beings. For these and other reasons, I find color research fascinating. But, the most fascinating topic is how color affects lives as human beings.

Human eyesight is roughly 7 times sharper than a cat’s, 40 to 60 times sharper than a rat’s or a goldfish’s, and hundreds of times sharper than a fly’s or a mosquito’s. … That’s according to a new study of animal vision that compared hundreds of species by the sharpness of their sight.

VIA EarthSky.org

Here are some of the fascinating things I’ve learned about how color affects lives in ways that you might find surprising.

How Color Affects Lives • The Psychology and Symbolism


Do you ever feel anxious or uplifted in a yellow room or does it bring cheer to you? Or, do you feel calm in a green room? Of course, artists, graphic designers, and interior designers know that color dramatically affects moods, feelings, and emotions. So, naturally, they use these tactics in their designs.

What’s more, this is an area of learning that anyone can enjoy. So, do your research and then apply it to your life and surroundings. The right colors might just add an element of joy in your life that you never before had the pleasure of experiencing.

A Few Fun Historical Color Facts

40,000 years ago artists created the first pigments which were a mixture of dirt, animal fat, charcoal, and chalk. Interestingly, this created the first human palette of red, yellow, brown, black, and white.

From those five colors have come a history of discovery as the human fascination with color progresses to this day. Whether through organic discovery or scientific advancement, artists continue to push forward with new pigments with each new art movement.

One grand discovery was in 1666 when the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton established that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into the seven visible colors.

Another interesting fact is that while our noses and ears are inferior to most animals, our color vision is greater than just about every other species on earth.

Amazingly, our brain uses a whopping 30% of its capacity to process visual input and that’s ten times as many neurons as our brains use to hear a sound! Then, to say that humans are “visually” oriented is rather an understatement – isn’t it?


Colors • Symbolism Chart About How Color Affects Lives

RedSincerity, energy, love, speed, power, heat, all things intense and passionate.
PinkLove and romance, caring, tenderness, acceptance, and calm.
Ivory Benevolence, unification, peace, and quiet.
YellowSignifies joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, philosophy, and friendship.
Dark BlueIntegrity, deep thinking, knowledge, power, and seriousness.
BluePeace, calm, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence, cleanliness, sky, water, and appetite suppressant.
TurquoiseCalm. Teal symbolizes sophistication. Aquamarine symbolizes water. Lighter turquoise has a feminine appeal.
PurpleRoyalty, spirituality, mystery, transformation, wisdom, enlightenment.
LavenderFemininity, grace, peace, and elegance.
Orange: Energy, balance, enthusiasm, warmth, vibrant, and flamboyant.
Green: Nature, health, good luck, renewal, spring, generosity, fertility, and vitality.
Brown: Earth, reliability, endurance, simplicity, comfort, and sincerity.
Gray: Reliability, intelligence, modesty, dignity, practicality, and calmness.
White: Reverence, purity, birth, simplicity, precision, innocence, youth, winter, snow, and in some cultures, marriage.
BlackPower, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, and mourning.
Tip o’ the hat to Incredible Art

Do We All See the Same Colors?

The first question for some might be, “does everyone see the same colors?” While that might seem obvious, is it really? After all, how do you know the person sitting next to you sees the same color green that you do?

However, given the fact that we’re all humans, there is consistency in what we see. But of course, there can be caveats. For instance, some people have trouble discerning between green and blue or between red and blue. This may indicate color vision deficiency or color blindness.

What About Color Vision Deficiency?

People with color deficiency might only see about 20 different color hues, while someone with normal vision can distinguish between 100 or more color hues. So, a color deficiency is due to conditions that affect the “perception” of color. Furthermore, this may be hereditary for some individuals. But, it can also be a result of damage from disease or injury that damages the retina. For example, one disease that causes color deficiency is diabetes.

In addition, every colorblind person has problems seeing the difference between blue and green, no matter which type of color blindness. Why is that? In some rather technical terms, here is a quote from a reliable source that further explains this condition.

The different anomalous conditions are protanomaly…a reduced sensitivity to red light, deuteranomaly which is a reduced sensitivity to green light and is the most common form of color-blindness, and tritanomaly which is a reduced sensitivity to blue light and is extremely rare.

Color Blindness Awareness

Continue Learning About How Color Affects Lives

It’s no small wonder that colors have a huge impact on human existence. Of course, that’s why the topic of how color affects lives so fascinating. Moreover, because color affects our intimate environment in some very intrinsic ways, it is important that we continue to learn about color and how it affects us as human beings.

Below is a great little book about color that I just downloaded on my Kindle reader so, I’m sharing it with you!

3 Red Christmas Berry Plants to Boost Your Holiday Cheer
Impact of colors on moods, feelings, and behaviors
7 Dreams of Autumn • Colors, Warmth, & Transition
Bring the Outside In Gallons Of Greenery
The Amazing Power of Yellow for Sparkle and Pizazz
Green is the Symbolic Color of the Heart Chakra - fresh green grass growing in the Spring sun.
How to create a zen design for your backyard sanctuary
Healthy House Plants for Cats
Han Purple: An Ancient Pigment That Puzzles Quantum Physicists

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