The Science Behind Spectacular Hues: What is Color Psychology?

What is Color Psychology
Do you like white roses but care nothing for red ones? Do you have more of a particular color in your wardrobe? Ever wondered why? Color psychology can help you answer these and similar questions.
He who can explain color to a blind man can explain anything in this world.
Color - such an integral part of human life, that we almost take it for granted. Have you ever wondered what would it be like to have black and white vision? Life would indeed be exceptionally dull and boring. There are certain colors that we tend to associate with certain emotions. Colors can hence be used while dealing with people on a daily basis. People may use corresponding colors to evoke certain emotions in the minds of the viewers. This is the gross concept of color psychology - to make use of colors to affect human behavior.
Color Psychology
Color psychology
As stated before, color psychology refers to making use of colors to affect human behavior. It is not an actual branch of psychology. Among the different types of psychology, color psychology can be considered to be a part of cognitive psychology. In the simplest terms, cognitive psychology deals with the study of perception. It encompasses all kinds of studies carried out to learn how the humans think, perceive, remember, and apply the knowledge they gain out of their five senses. The way the human eye and the human brain perceives different stimuli - including visual stimulus - can be studied under this branch of psychology. Hence, the study of color perception and response to it can be regarded to be a part of cognitive psychology.
The Color Wheel
Different colors
As school children, we have all been introduced to the color wheel. There are three primary colors, viz. red, blue and yellow; and three secondary colors, viz. green, orange and purple. Two more concepts were introduced to us in school - warm colors and cool colors. Have you ever wondered how the colors got sorted as warm and cool? Warm colors include red, orange, yellow and different tints and shades of these colors; and fire has all these colors. When man discovered fire, the two main things for which he used it was for warmth and light. Since ancient time, hence, man has associated fire with warmth, and that's how all the colors of fire are warm colors. On the other hand, water and trees always made the atmosphere cooler and calmer; hence blue, green, violet and all the tints and shades of these colors came to be the cool colors.
Color Psychology in Day-to-Day Life
Girls shopping
Have you ever noticed - you usually tend to pick up more clothes of a particular color than any other. For example I tend to be attracted to the color red while picking clothes - a red t-shirt, red handbag, red wallet, a red belt and yes, I have a pair of red heels as well. On the other hand my friend tends to pick up a lot of white - white jeans, white skirt, white scarf, even a watch with a white belt and dial. This happens because we identify ourselves with a particular color. The color red has been held to signify energy, passion, adventure and optimism - and that is how I am. On the other hand, white stands for truth, harmony, peace and purity - and those traits aptly describe my friend. Similarly, the colors you choose to paint your room with also depend on the kind of person you are.

It is said that a white rose is used to make-up after a fight, a yellow rose is given to a friend, a pink rose expresses your love while a red rose denotes deep passion. This convention arose from the way we feel when we look at the above mentioned colors - white, yellow, pink and red. It is the same for any flower. So the next time you give a girl a rose, make sure you choose the right one.

If you have noticed, hospitals usually have light colored walls - white, off-white, creamy, and the like. It is so that the residents do not feel agitated by strong colors. On the other hand office furniture tends to be gray or black most of the time - chairs, cabinets, etc. This is to create a serious and sober work atmosphere.

God is often described by poets and novelists to be 'dressed in purple robes'. This is because the color purple - or indigo particularly - is the color of the cosmos. It is a color that is related to healing as well. On the other hand the color red is most often used by various food brands - like KFC, McDonald, Coca Cola. Ever wondered why? It is because the color red stimulates circulation and hunger. Many a time color psychology is used to play with the buyer's mind and make him/her want something. It is a kind of marketing strategy.
Inductive or Deductive?
Whether a particular color really evokes a particular emotion in the human mind, or whether we feel a particular emotion when we look at a color because we know the color signifies that emotion is a debatable question. The effects of color on our mood, and our mind and behavior cannot be denied. The basis of color symbolism comes from the way certain colors evoke the feeling. However sometimes, if we look carefully enough, we can even find contradictory color symbolism - the graduation robe is black, but people also wear black at funerals; similarly, though red signifies passion, it also signifies danger.
We all use color psychology everyday without being consciously aware of the fact that we do. You won't give someone a card with a big red heart unless you really love that person, nor would you give someone you love a bouquet a white roses. As I quite often like to say - it is all just mind-play. I will now take your leave - with a colorful riddle.
What is the difference between an orange and an apple?
An orange is orange in color, but an apple is not apple in color!