Color affects personality and symbolizes many different feelings and concepts. Advertisers, religious leaders, artists and even state highway departments understand this and use color to convey a message. Color theory begins with the color wheel, but includes psychology and how the brain processes colors as well. The understanding of color in terms of how it affects personality and mood is just out of its beginning stages.
According to the Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art, the effect of color on personality begins with the eye. The human eye registers each color at a slightly different wavelength. These wavelengths become electrical impulses, which the brain picks up. Each color affects different parts of the body, causing a physiological response, which finally brings about an emotional response. An additional color theory exists as well, which postulates that color and light come into the body via the skin. Although scientists have yet to prove this theory, anecdotal evidence shows that some people register the difference between colors even with their eyes closed and that some blind people remain sensitive to color psychology despite the loss of sight.
According to Bloomsburg University, color affects mood---so much so that some therapies use color as part of their healing regiments. According to the Incredible Art Lessons website, color affects people who suffer from brain disorders or who are emotionally troubled. For example, therapists use greens to soothe people who suffer from anxiety or depression and blues to calm them down. Yellow energizes people and the color violet offers relief to some of the problems associated with migraines. Additionally, according to Precision Intermedia, prisons take advantage of pink's soothing properties to calm the incarcerated.
Advertisers and the media use color to convey the message they're trying to bring to the public, according to Precision Intermedia. These media professionals know that color influences buyers' behavior and colors possess meanings. For example, if an advertiser wants to portray a sense of authority and power, she may opt to use black in her advertising scheme. The advertiser wanting to portray wealth may decide to employ green in his design schemes, according to Precision Intermedia.
In the West
Colors carry different meanings depending upon the culture, according to the Incredible Art Lessons website. For example, in the Western world, red tells a driver to stop and green to go. People know that Christmas waits just around the corner when stores bring out the green and red decorations, and people who wear blue seem to be conservative while wearers of red express power and aggression. People associate these colors with these symbols and know what they mean without being told. In this case, colors function as a visual shorthand.
Since the ancient days, people have used colors to symbolize concepts and emotions in religion, according to Incredible Art Lessons. For example, in the Iowa Nation Native American tribes, four colors represent religious symbology: black, yellow, red and white. These colors stand for the four colors of their flag and what they think of as the four races of man. In Christian symbolism, black represents the darker side of man's nature and blue describes holy places in the Old Testament, according to the Riding the Beast website.
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