Color Misconceptions by Rhonda Morin

When I was in college, I took an entire semester long class on environmental psychology. This science studies how our environment effects our being and behaviors. How are we effected by color, furniture, temperature and placement of furniture were a few of the things we studied. The studies that have been done thus far in that field suggest that the color itself does not effect us but our perception of that color does.

For instance, the color black to me represents stability and elegance. To someone else, it represents death. To some countries it represents purity, its what their brides wear on their wedding days. So, if you were to place the three of us in a room with everything being black, I would come out of the room feeling very stable and elegant. The person who sees death would be depressed and upset and the person to whom that color represents purity will feel wholesome and good. Now, we were all in the same room. We all three saw the same things. But we all three had different perceptions about the color black and thus very different experiences in that room.

The argument then becomes, is it our culture that dictates our perceptions or our individual experiences in life?

Let’s dissect the color avocado green. When this color first made itself known in the seventies, it was EVERYWHERE. Entire homes were drowned in avocado green. During that “fad,” it was the color to have. Now, in the new century and millennium, if you have a home with ANYTHING avocado green, it not only dates your home BUT it leaves a very nasty taste in some people’s mouths. Why?

As a culture we over did it with the avocado green. It represents to us a time in our past, we did it, we were there, and we have moved on. For some people, however, that color represents the limited funds they have had in their lives to change appliances to newer fresher colors. It limits them and causes strife. For someone who did not grow up in the seventies that color means nothing to them.

It’s a combination of many things, including culture and individual experiences, but ultimately its YOUR perception of a color that determines your mood or feelings towards or about a room.

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