Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reactions to Colors

Recent research was published in a journal, Emotion, indicating that subjects ranging in age from 4th grade through college students reacted with increased force to the color red. In one experiment, 4th through 10th grade students had to pinch and hold open a metal clasp. Before attempting the task, the subjects had to look at a red or grey number. In another experiment, college students were asked to squeeze a hand grip after reading the word "squeeze" on a red, blue or grey background. In both experiments the subjects exerted more force under the red condition. In addition, the immediacy of the reaction was increased under the red condition for the college students.

After reading this study, it motivated me to research more colors in depth. Alth0ugh scholarly research was difficult to find, I found some information on color psychology. Here is a summary on how colors may possibly effect emotions:

Red - feelings of excitement, increased force
Blue - calming and productive
Green - calming and stress relief; restful color for the eye
Yellow- cheerful or anger; fatiguing color for the eye
Purple - independence and creativity

Perhaps consider this information when creating calming areas for children to relax and lower their level of arousal or motor stations to increase levels of excitement? Or considering the recent research in Emotion, when working on muscle strengthening exposing children to the color red for increased exertion? Do you incorporate color into your sensory diets?

Additional Info added 6/12/11: Here is an interesting article at Autism Key on color choices and interior design for individuals with autism.

References: Color red increases the speed and strength of reactions. Retrieved from the web on 6/5/11 at

Color Wheel Pro retrieved from the web on 6/5/11 at

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