Relationship between Color and Emotion: A Study of College Students

By Kaya, Naz; Epps, Helen H. | College Student Journal, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Relationship between Color and Emotion: A Study of College Students


Kaya, Naz, Epps, Helen H., College Student Journal


Ninety-eight college students were asked to indicate their emotional responses to five principle hues (i.e., red, yellow, green, blue, purple), five intermediate hues (i.e., yellow-red, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue, and red-purple), and three achromatic colors (white, gray, and black) and the reasons for their choices. The color stimuli were referenced from the Munsell Color System. The results revealed that the principle hues comprised the highest number of positive emotional responses, followed by the intermediate hues and the achromatic colors. The color green evoked mainly positive emotions such as relaxation and comfort because it reminded most of the respondents of nature. The color green-yellow had the lowest number of positive responses because it was associated with vomit and elicited the feelings of sickness and disgust. For the achromatic colors, white attained a large number of positive responses, followed by the colors black and gray. The reasons for the color-emotion associations are discussed and future research areas are suggested.

Introduction

Color is an inseparable part of our everyday lives and its presence is evident in everything that we perceive. It is widely recognized that colors have also a strong impact on our emotions and feelings (Hemphill, 1996; Lang, 1993; Mahnke, 1996). For instance, the color red has been associated with excitement, orange has been perceived as distressing and upsetting, purple as dignified and stately, yellow as cheerful, and blue has been associated with comfort and security (Ballast, 2002; Wexner, 1982). Moreover, some colors may be associated with several different emotions and some emotions are associated with more than one color (Linton, 1999, Saito, 1996). Red, symbolically known as a dominant and dynamic color, has an exciting and stimulating hue effect. It has both positive and negative impressions such as active, strong, passionate, warm, but on the other hand aggressive, bloody, raging and intense. Green has been found to have a retiring and relaxing effect. It too has both positive and negative impressions such as refreshment, quietness, naturalness, and conversely tiredness and guilt (Davey, 1998, Mahnke, 1996, Saito, 1996).

The relationship between color and emotion is closely tied to color preferences. In particular, color preferences are associated with whether a color elicits positive or negative feelings. While particular colors have been found to be highly preferred regardless of age, racial group, or culture (Adams & Osgood, 1973, Eysenck, 1941), there is some evidence that color preference may be culturally-based. For example, Choungourian (1968) found that the colors red and blue were the most preferred colors among American subjects, but were less preferred in other cultures. In a comparision of Japanese and Korean subjects, Saito (1996) found unique color preference tendencies between the two countries, and also with respect to age, gender, and geographical region within the individual country.

In an investigation of children's emotional associations with colors, Boyatzis and Varghese (1994) found that light colors (e.g., yellow, blue) are associated with positive emotions (e.g., happy, strong) and dark colors (e.g., black, gray) with negative emotions (e.g., sad, angry). In a study examining color-emotion associations among college students in Australia, Hemphill (1996) also found that bright colors elicited mainly positive emotional associations, while dark colors elicited negative emotional associations, confirming the results obtained by Boyatzis and Varghese (1994). However, Saito (1996) found that the color black elicited both negative and positive responses among Japanese subjects, and that black was often a preferred color among young people.

Colors can also be described in temperature terms, such as "warm" or "cool"as related to the dominant wavelength of the color. The cool colors (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Relationship between Color and Emotion: A Study of College Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.