Color Lan­guage — Effects of color on our per­cep­ti­on and beha­viour

Keynote Speaker TEDx "Color your Mind" Kiel University 12.11.2017

More than 500 probands have taken part in the world's largest psychological study on the effects of colors on human perception and behavior. During the time period of more than 5 years we evaluated more than 1 million images. The findings of the study are reflected in 13 Color-Memory-Maps, which mirrors the associative network of the brain. Color memory reflects the personal experiences of people

Rese­arch Pro­ject Frame­work

Methods: empi­ri­cal obser­va­tions and psy­cho­lo­gi­cal expe­ri­ments
Pro­bands: 500 peop­le
Peri­od: 5 years
Obser­va­ti­on Mate­ri­al: 1 mil­li­on pic­tures
Direc­tor of rese­arch: Prof. Dr. Axel Bue­ther, Chair Visu­al Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, Wup­per­tal Uni­ver­si­ty
Rese­arch Assi­stant: Hei­ke Krauss, Color Light Space Rese­arch Lab Wup­per­tal

The effects of colors

Our memo­ry deter­mi­nes what a color means to us and how colours affect our thoughts and fee­lings. Colors deter­mi­ne the expe­ri­ence of our self and the envi­ron­ment. They influ­ence our beha­vi­or and con­trol our actions, even though we rare­ly reco­gni­ze the cau­ses.

We feel the »power of colors« when we are attrac­ted or repel­led from the appearan­ce of peop­le, things and spaces. We only see beau­ti­ful, ugly, deli­cious or dis­gus­ting colors, becau­se our per­cep­ti­on is deter­mi­ned by the power of our memo­ries. Human bee­ings are color experts.

Ever­yo­ne feels the effects of colors from birth with all its sen­ses. Through tri­al and error, we learn to align our beha­vi­or suc­cess­ful­ly on the envi­ron­men­tal con­di­ti­ons of our natu­ral and cul­tu­ral space. Color memo­ry forms an important part of our life expe­ri­ence and ser­ves us as a relia­ble basis for our actions. From a phy­sio­lo­gi­cal­ly per­spec­tive we see only colors. Con­tent is gene­ra­ted in the pro­cess of per­cep­ti­on from the sen­su­al mate­ri­al of our memo­ries.

That is why we react  disap­poin­ted if some­thing is not beha­ving as pro­mi­sed by the color. We don’t like beau­ti­ful colors, that do not fit to us, when we dress up or design our Habi­tat. We don’t like deli­cious colors, which do not tas­te us, when we like to enjoy our meal. We respond angri­ly, when colors claim our atten­ti­on, but have no inte­res­ting messa­ge to tell. The qua­li­ties of a color or color com­po­si­ti­on should trans­fer the right messa­ge.

Color psy­cho­lo­gy

Color psy­cho­lo­gy is based on the under­stan­ding of the effects of colors on the expe­ri­ence and beha­vi­or of peop­le. Con­se­quen­ces for the design and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on pro­cess can be deri­ved from an under­stan­ding of color mea­ning and color effects. App­lied color psy­cho­lo­gy pro­mo­tes the func­tio­na­li­ty of design and the effec­tiveness of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on.

Suc­cess­ful color psy­cho­lo­gy can help us to achie­ve con­cre­te tar­gets:

  1. Media­ti­on of set messa­ges
  2. Obser­va­ti­on of desi­red beha­vi­or chan­ges
  3. Obser­va­ti­on of desi­red actions
  4. Per­cep­ti­on of posi­ti­ve emo­ti­ons and fee­lings
  5. Accep­tan­ce and satis­fac­tion tar­gets and tar­get groups


Home­page TEDx Orga­ni­zer
Kiel Uni­ver­si­ty
Sci­ence Cent­re Kiel
Frau­en­ho­fer­stra­ße 13
24103 Kiel

25.10.17 in Forschung, Wissenstransfer
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