A Study of Emotion and Colour Preference

The goal of this study was to determine the link between the emotions that colours produce and the preference for that colour.

There is a link between emotions such as happiness, showiness, forcefulness, warmth, elegance and calmness and colour attributes such  as hue, lightness and chroma.

The colour emotion scales used in this experiment were split into three groups: Evaluative Factors  (Clean-Dirty, Fresh-Stale and Like-Dislike), Potency Factors ( Heavy-Light, Hard-Soft and Masculine-Feminine) and Actvity Factors (Warm-Cool, Modern-Classical, Active-Passive and Tense-Relaxed.)

The participants in the experiments were given descriptions of each of the colour emotions, so they could have a frame of reference. They were shown colours and asked to pick one from each of the pairs of descriptors to describe what they are seeing.

Heavy-Light had the highest accuracy value, and Tense-Relaxed the lowest. It was found that there was no difference between male and female participants, but that there was a slight difference between participants of different cultures. Tense-Relaxed and Like-Dislike had the biggest difference, with deep purple and black being the largest of these. It was found that British pariticpants tended to like cool colours, whereas Chinese participants liked clean, fresh and modern colours. British participants tended to describe colours and both tense and active, wheras Chinese participants tended to describe colours as both tense, heavy and masculine.



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