COLORS >> SCIENCE & CULTURE
THE RED HOT TRUTH ABOUT COLOR AND EMOTIONS
The Hue of Your Mood W R ITTEN BY PEGGY M ACDONA LD
Colors can be the most lucid way to evoke a mood. Consider Pablo Picasso’s early Blue Period, during which he created a series of melancholy paintings in various shades of blue, reﬂecting the depression he felt following the loss of his best friend, Carles Casagemas. “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” Picasso said. Psychologists note that color can affect not only mood, but also taste and fashion. “Ever tried strawberries colored in grayish brown?” Asked Andreas Keil, professor of psychology at the University of Florida, in an April 4 email. “Just not as tasty. Chocolate? Much better!” In addition to color affecting the perception of taste, research has shown that darkness and light have a major impact upon psychological well-being. “There is good science showing that 86 |
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being in the dark is not great for mood and even can lead to symptoms of certain types of depression,” Keil explained. “There is a reason why we do not have too many black walls in homes. Social norms and fashion trends are also important.” Marketers have long understood the importance of color in attracting customers. McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s use warm colors in their logos and signage to stimulate the appetite. Think of the golden arches on top of a red base with the name McDonald’s. Red is also the most provocative color women can wear on their lips, nails and clothing to attract a mate. While red roses may symbolize love, passion and courtship, in terms of interior design, realtors advise clients to install neutral carpeting, wallpaper and painted walls such as beige to avoid offending potential buyers with bold colors like red. “My parents’ kitchen (this is the 1970s) had a colorful pattern of circular shapes with orange, yellow, black, and brown rings, in a green background,” Keil recalled. “Right now, most people
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