My Color Crush

March 05, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I love color and am drawn to it. On a recent trip to Florida I was inspired by so much color. From the color of the sky, the water, the landscape, and the colors of Florida wildlife. Some of the colors just stopped me in my tracks. Enjoy these images of Florida color and read more below about the power of color.

African Rainbow Lizard (also an invasive species in Florida)

Egyptian Goose PairEgyptian Goose PairJupiter Florida Roseate SpoonbillRoseate SpoonbillPine Glades Natural Area, Jupiter Florida Purple GallinulePurple GallinuleLoxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Boat Tailed Grackle - MaleBoat Tailed Grackle - MalePine Glades Natural Area

Brown Anole LizardBrown Anole LizardRiverwalk, Jupiter Florida OceansOceansJupiter Florida

Color evokes both human and animal emotions automatically. In both humans and animals color is used to communicate without saying a word or making a sound. That’s a powerful thing. Many people love color, whether it’s saturated or muted. Color is not completely agreed on universally and can appeal differently to individuals, based on gender and age. But colors and emotions are closely linked no matter what. Color can create certain moods and influence the decisions people make. It can influence what we purchase, the clothes we wear, and the way we enhance our spaces. People often select objects in colors that evoke certain moods or feelings, such as selecting a car color that seems sporty, futuristic, sleek, or trustworthy. Room colors can also be used to evoke specific moods, such as painting a bedroom a soft, muted color to create a peaceful mood. 


There’s been studies in color psychology and we’ve learned some interesting things from them.


Why Do We Prefer Certain Colors?


A review of many studies on color psychology (see: concluded that there’s three main theories. Keep in mind that a theory is used to explain the meaning and nature of a phenomenon --- e.g., why humans prefer certain colors -- so that we can use that knowledge and understanding to act in more informed and effective ways regarding that phenomenon.  Sometimes one or more theories can be used to explain a single phenomenon, and future research can modify existing theories.


1. Biology / Evolution – This theory says that survival happened because our species (whether male or female) was successful in identifying the “right” color of things. For example, in the case of females, finding food sources by identifying red and yellow fruit among green foliage helped survival and therefore color preferences linked to survival were developed for future generations.


2. Gender Schema Theory -- This theory says when children are young, we reinforce gender stereotypes. Boys are dressed in blue, girls in pink. Children then integrate those colors into their schema, or mental representation, of “male” and “female.” Because children feel a need to conform to their gender, males become drawn to blue, whereas females become drawn to pink.


3. Ecological Valence Theory -- According to this theory, we develop preferences for colors, based on our emotional experiences with those colors over time. The more enjoyment and positive feeling we get from experiences with objects of a given color, the more we tend to like that color.


There’s been a lot written about the meaning of various colors. One thing for sure is that color does have meaning and it does activate human (and animal!) emotion. However, human responses to color are not universal; they differ based on our culture, gender, and age.  Here’s a link to good, reader-friendly, information that teases apart the sticky points on what science says about the emotions attached to various colors, Recognizing that there are some differences, the table below summarizes human responses to various colors.

Wishing you a colorful world!





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