How Color Affects The Human Brain
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How Color Affects The Human Brain

Color and the way the human perceives it varies according to culture and environment.

The human capacity to distinguish between colors is a result of millions of years of evolution brought on by factors like adaptation to habitat, to way of life and the combined perception of each generation in order to protect themselves from danger as well as make decisions regarding their surroundings and survival. There are animals which became monochromats because they became accustomed to nocturnal life. Others became dichromats, only capable of distinguising particular color ranges that might suggest danger, while others, including man became a trichromat. Trichromats are capable of distinguishing a wider range of colors than the former two, however still limited compared to tetrachromats like some species of fish and birds capable of seeing even the ultra violet range of light. The ability to distinguish between range of colors is made possible by a protein called opsin. Opsin separates the pigments on the color wavelengths that passes through the cones or photoreceptors present in the eye in order to distinguish one from the other.

We often associate certain behaviors as a result of certain colors dominant in the environment. Red for passion, yellow for something that makes us think happy thoughts, others think that orange has a certain aphrodisiac quality, pink is usually thought of as feminine, blue for masculine sometimes for something cold, green for nature and generally thought of as a very relaxing color like blue, brown for earthy, purple as the color of royalty. Hospitals are generally pervaded with white or green, white being usually associated with cleanliness and green to soothe patients minds. It is generally agreed that it is best to minimize warm colors like yellow in kindergarten schools to avoid hyperactivity among children. The association of red to passion or anger or any extreme or dangerous emotions probably stemmed from the fact that the color of blood is red. A lot of studies have been conducted in order to verify these observations on the effect of colors to human psychology, however up until now there is still no concrete explanation reached.

Apparently, there are certain cultures who only have two or three words to distinguish colors from one another, generally mainly separating the bright ones from the dark ones. It is generally thought of that the more dominant colors accross cultures are black, white and red among others. As human society continues to evolve, wider spectrum of colors are being introduced to individuals. Colors previously not commonly accepted as natural like blue on food, drinks, etc, are being experimented on and little by little are being culturally recognized like a certain blue soda, pink shirt on the alpha male, and other gender prejudices regarding color is slowly getting blurred.


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Comments (3)

Excellent. I'm going to recommend this to my students.

Thank you. ^^

Colors definitely have effect on brain. In our early year classes we try to keep our classrooms very bright and colorful which have impact on kid's mood and learning.