How Colors in a Painting Affect Your Brain?

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The way we perceive color and objects is dependant on the perception center in the brain where information from our optic nerves is processed. Furthermore, by the exploitation of the sense of illumination, we humans can conceive the expression of colors in even more complex ways.

Subconsciously our mind associates specific colors and shades with a particular form of emotion. The psychological effect of it can be perceived through moods associated. However, the entirety of this phenomenon cannot be supported by adequate scientific data due to the lack of extensive research thereof.

We bring you some of the cool facts known to date about the color-coded associations of a painting, with human emotions in the following section.

Fact Check on Color Psychology

  • The psychological basis of color can be broadly divided into two categories: warm and cool. While warm colors include red, yellow, and orange, colors like blue, green, purple fall under the cool group. 
  • Warm colors like red and orange, are usually associated with a heightened sense of alertness, arousement, excitement as well as danger. Whereas, the cool colors such as blue are often subjected to reflect the feeling of depression. I guess you are familiar with the saying” Monday Blues,” right?

Let’s delve deep into the thought behind mood perception associated with the three primary colors red, blue, and yellow. 

  • Red has the longest wavelength and is symbolic of strong and sturdy. It may even activate the “fight or flight” instinct!
  •  According to Wright (1998), Psychologically, yellow is the most robust color; it is about emotions, self-esteem, and creativity. Oftentimes it is associated with vibrancy, cheerfulness, and the brighter side of life.                
  • Blue is perceived to have a soothing effect and is believed to encourage intellectual activity, reason, and logical thought. Some studies associate raising blood pressure with red, while blue is deemed to lower the blood pressure. No wonder the sea is blue!

What Can We Conclude About The Scientific Aspect Of Color Psychology?

Colour is basically light that travels from the sun, just like other electromagnetic radiations such as radio waves, microwaves, x-rays, etc. However, light is the only part of the visible spectrum for humans. 

When you strike a light on any object, it will only absorb the wavelengths that exactly match with its atomic structure while reflecting the rest. This reflected portion is what we can perceive as the object’s color. 

Once the light strikes our eyes, it is captured as electrical-impulse information in the optic nerves via the retina. These impulses then pass to the hypothalamus of the brain, which governs our hormones as well as the endocrine system.

Thus it’s no surprise that this critical brain center also houses our biological or circadian clock. It has been shown several times that color has a physical effect on humans due to its energy; the shorter the wavelength, the stronger the underlying physical effect. 

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This could be linked to the fact that the hypothalamus is the common ground of processing a wide range of information such as Water regulation, sleeping, and behavioral patterns, the balance of the autonomic nervous system, sexual and reproductive functions, metabolism, appetite, body temperature.

Final Thoughts

If you notice carefully, the color based mood depicted in a painting is somewhat accurate to the visual cues followed by the animal kingdom. 

So, the question is, are you ready to see colors with a deeper meaning from today?

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