Q&A-Behavior

What are the effects of color on humans?

What colors are a trigger for aggressive behavior?

Color and crime/violent behavior

Color and weight gain/loss

Does color affect appetite?

Yellow's effect in public spaces (Subway stores)

The use of color to mitigate stress


What are the effects of color on humans?

Quesstion:
I'm having a lot of trouble finding information on the effects of color on humans. More specifically I'm doing a little experiment to see if exposure to blue light will decrease a person's blood pressure. Any ideas?? All help appreciated!! :) Shelli

Vera Blue:
Yes, there are short term affects. Personality plays a powerful in long term physiological affects. Extroverted individuals require brighter colors,more colors, engaging shapes, and other sources of stimulation to *maintain equilibrium.* To attempt to calm a hyperactive person in a blue, monochromatic, or otherwise unstimulating environment, will only make her/him more agitated in the long run. Likewise, an introvert will not blossom into an outgoing personality in an energized environment.S/he will go stark raving mad....eventually.

Mac:
Considerable research and numerous studies have been conducted to determine the effect of color on people - kids, adults, even animals. Much of the information is hard to find, but it's there. It's pretty well known and accepted that blue (for instance) does decrease heart rate and has a calming effect. But, as I've said in other posts, be careful. That which is good in moderation, can be adverse in excess. Cast a blue light upon your active little son. If the other parts of his environment do not confict, you will see him move to greater calm. Ah, success! Come back later and oh my gosh, he's flying around the room more energetic than you've seen him in months. Why? Too much of a 'good' thing. Study homeostatis. * * * If grade school administrators knew of that the spectral emission of fluorescent lights was largely blue/green...and if they knew about the effects of chronic and prolonged exposure to those light bandwidths, they'd change the darn bulbs! Six hours of daily exposure to fluorescent bulbs is not great. (Yes, they do have special fluorescent bulbs that emit a balanced light spectrum, but they are a bit more expensive.) * * * One few of the researchers of the effects of light includes - Dr. McNaughton (New York) (deceased). Most of his work was never published. :( Regards, Mac

JLM:
John Ott also conducted substantial research into the biological effects of light. Although he lacked scientific credentials, his work is noteworthy.There's an excellent film about his work...check with a University.

Mac:
JLM, Yes, Ott did some interesting research. I wonder who might follow in his shoes. The one thing that the AMA (medical profession) seems to recognize that color (light) will do is to aid in correcting a jaundice condition in people. (violet/indigo/purple light). Supposedly the nuns in churches in the 1700's realized that jaundice'd babies (jaundice - bilirubin - yellowing of the skin) improved when they plopped the little people near a brightly lit purplish stained glass window in the medieval churches. Presto...no more yellow kiddies! Today, hospitals use violet light (too cheap for stained glass I suppose)...and it works. I suppose the connection between Vitamin D and sunlight (to activate) would be another instance where light/color is 'accepted' by the scientific community. Color therapy was very popular in the early 1900's. It went from a near 'fad' to being scoffed off and blacklisted by the medical profession over the years. Some of the scoffing was probably appropriate. What might have been lost in the process though, is what color may offer in other ways. Color is a 'weak' force for the most part. A colored light bulb shining on a person isn't going to do much more than a magnet would if held in your hand. And the energy differential (emissive energy - heat - photons - etc.) from a green light or a red light will not affect a person much. So, if you walk into a red room or a green room, there isn't going to be a lot of physiological change going on in one's body. (thank heavens). High energy color emissions can do things. Grab an old Scientific American. You'll find a few articles on colored light. One describes how colored light is used as a 'catalyst' to initiate a chemical reaction. Hey! How about that. I suspect some of the real value of 'color psychology' will be realized when color is found to be an 'indicator'. (What do I mean by that?) Well.... In 20 years, you will come into an office for diagnosis. Sitting down in a chair you will be connected to a cute little machine (full of a bunch of sensor and computing equipment). You won't need to do anything but sit there with your eyes open and just watch the cute things that show up in front of you. It will be a kaleidoscope of viewing enjoyment. The system will assess you, measure you, compute your physiological state. How much? More than you could imagine. When it's done, you'll probably feel like you've been on a rollercoaster ride...but refreshed too. What will the results provide? Possibly a lot... Data on your physiological condition. Data on your mental condition. Intrinsic mood, behavior, behavioral tendencies, many aspects of your general health, resilience, aggressiveness/passivity... it will tell you if you tend to be extro or introverted, claustrophobic...it will tell you about what you like and dislike, have fears of and are attracted to... it will define thresholds and limits you have...it will tell you if you smoke, if your weigh (overweighness) is the result of endocrine imbalance and if was precipitated psychogenically or otherwise. It will tell you how you work, why you work (for enjoyment or the sense of accomplishmennt...etc.) It will tell you about your stamina, about the condition of your heart..but actually of your system in a full-body sense. It will key into existing neuroses and point out how multiple neuroses interact. It will point out schizoid and and depressed behaviors and it will show How they link to existing brain chemistry. Not bad for $25.00 bucks and 15 minutes of viewing enjoyment eh? Of more import is the fact that the results will truly help you ....mentally. And enable a trained medical professional to resolve health problems you may have. * * * Much of the psychiatric and medical community is focused on behavior as being all a chemical thing...mostly addressable by the application of drugs. There is some truth in their approach (my opinion). I suppose, if I was a dog and had a drooling problem I could go to a doctor and he/she would be able to prescribe a drug to stop my incessant drippy problem. But Pavlov might get ticked off, after he had spent weeks training me to drool. A simple drug would have ruined all of that psychological conditioning he had done. Maybe my point is, as much as a drug might 'cure' a problem/symptom ~~ identifying if it was precipitated by a psychological system (body) response to an external (or internal) condition is valuable. Pavlov might have just retrained me Not to salivate. My HMO (yuck!!) would have saved the money for the drugs. In time, the 'everything is the result of chemical imbalances in the human body' approach may be merged and integrated into a more comprehensive approach in dealing with psychologically originated disorders. If/when that happens, the medical community will be in a far more potent and capable position to truly help people and improve the quality of life. Regards, Mac

JLM :
The CFF (Critical Flicker Frequency) of fluorescent fixtures is also reponsible for detrimental effects on the human body. Although it's not noticeable by the human eye (unless the bulb is in its death throes), these bulbs flicker at a rate which is out of sync with the human body. Replacement with "full spectrum" bulbs with corrected CFF is the only way to create biologically healthy interior environments.

Anonymous:
The Miracle of Colour Healing,The Aquarian Press, AnImprint of HarperCollins Publishers, London, 1990. good luck ! bye ...

ad-play-cm-site
 


What colours are a trigger for aggressive behaviour?

Katy-jo Stanton:
I am doing a colour related project and would like information from anyone interested as to what colours are a trigger for aggressive behaviour.

Galia Scheuer:
As a communication therapist I have been using colored scarfs with autistic children: I have found blue and green to be realaxing and a combination of red - black - yeloow to be irretating. would like to hear more about your work.

LKPete :
You might need to begin by gathering information about the very opposite of what you want to find out. Because most research will be about determining which colors are more calming (there is little or no commercial need for color that rile people, Jerry Springer aside), so you might dig up that sort of info and then work backwards from there. You might also check into some authoritative sports psychology info. Much has been made of football teams that wear black helmets and uniforms being more aggressive on the field of play. I am very dubious about this, since, a) aggression alone won't win games, not even in football; and b) if it was true, every team in the NFL would wear black helmets and uniforms. Peoples' feelings about color are, along with societal associative meanings, very personal. If you don't like a certain color, being in a room painted in that color will probably annoy you.

MacEngrg@AOL:
Katy-Jo, Chris, et.al. Chris, from the comment in your posting - Color selections made for the holding cells were originally done in the late 1970's and early 1980's. (It was my research data.) Someone at an Institute in Washington State kindly (hiccup)took my research concepts and used them in Tacoma, WA. detention rooms and prisons and published some research papers about it (no, they didn't reference my work either). You might have seen a guy on "That's Incredible" in the 1980's, holding up big sheets of Blue and then Pink poster board, while someone saw how much weight their outstretched arms could bear. That was more of the same stuff. There are a few catches though. 1. They botched the color a bit and made it a kinda hot greyish pink. Psst: Alex...you didn't get the color right! 2. They didn't take into account exposure effects. The color was 'in the ballpark' enough to give scientifically significant results (blind study). But.. 3. Prisoners did respond and calmed down, as hoped, initially. Major goof: If they hung around too long, they became even more violent. Why? The reasons are so very very clear. 4. Other reasons: several, but that's another story.... I suspect there are, what one might call, innate responses to certain stimuli - in this instance a color or stimulus that prompts aggressiveness. But observations suggest that people can develop linkages of given stimuli to specific behaviors - and that these linkages will very quickly override many of the secondary or more subtle innate responses. An example? There are many. Here's a traumatic one - A mother watches a bright red car zoom by. A second later her child is on the ground, critically hurt, hit by the car. The child survives, but the trauma is so instant, so deep, the woman's association of bright-red to horrible loss is forever buried in her psyche. A linkage has been formed. Ever since then, when she sees that bright red, her heart races and an intense fear moves thru her. She rejects that color and keeps it away... Does bright-red = horrid loss then? To her it does. It's a uniquely formed, special case linkage. But to you, or me that same bright-red might mean something good, a warm Valentine's moment, a spouse's beautiful lips, whatever. The situationally induced linkage of that bright-red to that traumatic fearful moment overrides whatever response to the color might otherwise prevail. So...Katy-Jo... When you ask: "..what colors are a trigger for aggressive behavior" an answer may be at hand, but it may come with a myriad of caveats that overwelm an otherwise simple answer. Regards, Mac


Color and crime/violent behavior

Question:
I am organizining a roundtable discussion on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) for crime prevention officers from law enfrocment agencies. One issue I would like to address is the role color might play in aggressive or anti-social behavior. Do certain color cause people to be more aggressive or less aggressive? If so, can we use color in locations such, as such convneince stores or other violence prone locations, to reduce violence. Can we use color to make people feel safer or can we use color to warn people about the potential for danger. I would appreciate any resource information on this issue and individauls who might be able to teach a short class on color and how it can impact behavior, especillay as it relates to crime. Pat Harris

MacEngrg@AOL.
Pat, It's nice to hear you are pursuing research and discussions in the area of crime and violence and how environment affects people and their actions. I'd like to know where in VA you will be holding the discussions, it's tempting to crash the party. :) I conducted studies and testing using color test protocols with young adults (in detention and while imprisoned) in the early 1980's. It was fascinating research. I'm glad to see you call your roundtable CPTED so it encompasses not only color, but all of the environmental stimuli that can affect individuals. From my research, color is a factor, but other inputs are equally and collectively probably much more influential in affecting people's behaviors.

You may at some point wish to consider another aspect of color as well. Instead of looking at color and how it might cause them to display negative behaviors, consider using it as an assessment tool a diagnostic tool. Such an assessment tool might be able to identify a behavior like cleptomania (theft). (Cleptomania is quite clearly defined (textbook, psychological aspects of....) and it has fairly well defined color correlations. I believe pyromania (e.g.- arson) and other neuroses would follow along the same lines. * * * If the owner of a 7-11 store thought color might influence a person's behavior and s/he decided to repaint the store with the hope that it would reduce crime, robbery, cleptomania, etc., what color would s/he use? Would 1 color be the answer? Or would it possibly be 2 colors? More? Polka dots? Plaids?

Maybe it would be better to drill 50 holes in the walls of the store and place little plastic eyeballs that peer out of some of the holes, and maybe a few gun muzzles poking out of some other holes? That might be effective but if my granny happened to shop at the 7-11, she would probably sue for traumatization. Store revenues might drop too (but then, they might increase too?) Instead of muzac playing quietly on the 7-11 speaker system, perhaps it would be more effective to have a news commentator's report being played on the system. The report could state how intruders were arrested today for trying to rob a convenience store. (Verbalizing the consequences of unacceptable behavior to the forefront.) :)

Actually, the use of closed circuit video systems in convenience stores is probably a significant deterent to much of the crime that might otherwise occur. * * * In your discussion and investigations it might be helpful to know that ... In many instances a high contrast environment can precipitate irrational, unthinking decisions. A black/white or black/yellow environment may affect an individual jusssst enough to move him/her into a 'bad' decision. Black-yellow (notice, it's 2 colors not one!) is chosen by people who are in a mode to make poor, headstrong, rash, self-destructive choices... Black-white in some instances is a combination that is chosen (and can precipitate) neurotic decisions... Black-green in some instances is tied to highly driven egocentric behaviors... Black-red in some instances may provoke an aggressive, driven, high-energy, hostile behavior. Ever notice that many store environments tend to lack a certain set of colors? Can you guess which set I'm referring to? Would you be suprised if I told you that these colors are the colors of 'self-respect' (Inotherwords...a range of colors that might move a person to stop and realize that a 'self-respecting' person might not behave in a certain way?) * * * Be careful how you apply the knowledge here...it's very complex and these colors (combinations) all have short and long term effects. It wouldn't be much fun to realize that the color combination you chose to paint the 7-11 succeeded in passifying the customers that visited briefly, but chronically affected the store owner to the point that s/he took the customers hostage upon their arrival.... * * * I know of very few people who have researched color and environmental stimuli in regards to the areas you have mentioned. If you succeed in finding and collecting some, I would like to have a copy of your attendees list from your roundtable discussion. :) * * * I would enjoy hearing more about your CPTED work in a future posting. Regards, Mac

A guide to color for the home and office

Color and weight gain/loss

Question:
I'm looking for anyone who has any information on what I know as the "color diet". The American Institute of Science has a program in Color Therapy and one of the courses is named "color diet". But to access the site you must sign up and pay to take the courses. I have read that color can be used to help in weight loss/gain - it has to do with the fact that the aura is out of "color" balance. The red/orange/yellow spectrum is used for permanent weight loss and the blue/green spectrum is used for weight gain. I first read about it in "Linda Goodman's Star Signs". I have made contact with a freind in India who says doctors there have been working with this "color diet" for years and they say what Linda mentions about color is VALID. I am currently doing the color diet. I just would like to hear from others who have done this or have any information on the subject. Thanks!

Ana Garcia:
I was just browsing through the web sites - colorcom- and I read, just the opposite, that eating in blue plates or eating blue food is less appetitious than any other color. Also I have read that restaurants usually decorate with warm colors such as orange, for their clients to eat more and fastest. Hope your investigations are succesfull.

Patti Phare-Camp :
Yes, Ana eating in blue does make you eat less as it relaxes and slows you down. Eating in orange makes you eat faster and more. Tammy you are also correct. Now you are refering to the auraic energy. To encourage healthy weight and eating habits you want to stimulate the yellow/Orange/red spectrum of the aura. You do so by surrounding your eating and exercising space in the above specrums' compliment, blue/green/violet.


Does color affect appetite?

dm:
Liz, I have a few results from some previous research I have done on this topic. Food and color association in relationship to taste is nominal. Every individual has a different perception of taste. Outside of the body's own chemical breakdowns of food and olfactory perception, we trigger taste in relation to memory. Some tastes are nostaligic, familiar, foreign; or a like or dislike due to environmental/emotional influences. (S'mores from childhood, icky brussel sprouts, etc.)Those good ole' "taste-buds" are even affected by our expectations and perception of what food should taste like. (That salad looks really good!) Some colors can help to create those feelings (Pop Tart boxes are dominated with brown to reflect toasted pastries, Healthy Choice uses that "Healthy Green" look to suggest freshness and low fat, vibrant energies,etc.) So close yours and eat up. That's how I got through brussel sprouts....

Color and food/dining

Dani
I have read studies that said red is both an appetite stimulant and also increases your blood pressure. This can physiologically have an affect on the person. Also important in any food area is a sense of cleanliness, which is represented by white (white kitchens and bathrooms). If the white can be kept clean it is a good choice. Follow your own experience on your favorite food places, what color are they and what is your emotional state at each. Pay attention to how many places use either a white and red theme in their menus, linens, or decor.

Mac:
Dani, Nice post. And which might be more appetizing...a menu with black and white pictures of food or with rich color pictures? Regards, Mac

 


Yellow's effect in public spaces (SUBWAY)

Question:
My environmental psych. research project is on the effect of the bright yellow surroundings found in my neighborhood Subway sandwich shop. It is the "older" decor with the busy brown wallpaper. All employees there complain about co-workers being grumpy,tense,irritable, I want to prove the color connection(all the walls of brite laminate yellow) and present the owner reasons to remodel, any and all comments welcome, Marsha - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Christopher Willard:
I bet if you paid them a hundred thousand a year instead of minimum wage, they'd love those colors and be pretty happy to work there.
 

sandra:
i don't know about yellow in a subway restaurant, i do know that i had to change where i did my banking when the bank i used repainted it's interior yellow. Whenever i went in i felt disoriented, and like i was going to pass out, i like yellow, but find that it a very irritating colour when used as an interior colour, especially when when there are few windows in the room.

LKPeteOne thing to consider is that the yellow decor -- and doubtlessly all of Subway's interior design color choices -- are aimed at pleasing (or whatever) the customers, who come and go fairly quickly, and not the workers who are there for 8 long grueling hours of sandwich making and being polite to hungry people in a hurry. A couple of thoughts: restaurant anti-smoking ordinances (in NY & CA) were enacted on behalf of the restaurant staff, not the customers, who weren't -- so the reasoning goes -- as endangered by long exposure to a smoke-filled room (providing none of them were politicians). I'm not sure what you might do with this thought, but it may give you the beginnings of a framework for your argument. There is lots of info on room colors having an effect on those who spend a lot of time in these rooms, I don't have it at hand, but I know it exists (check Area 51, or maybe 52). At the very least, you could point out that some interior decor scheme that included surroundings that made employees less irritable (and therefore nicer to customers who will be so pleased by the cheerful attitudes and service that they'll come back time after time) is good for business. Another color might also convey a cleaner environment as well as a more pleasing one. I just remembered a book or two on snazzy restaurant design published by Rockport Publishers. Check the graphic design and architecture sections of your local bookstore (and if it's a Borders or Barnes & Noble with a cafe attached, be sure to note the color of the walls, lighting, etc. for any number of books on this and related topics.

Mac
Debbie, What color is best? How about a nice balance of warm colors in the yellow to magenta portion of the spectrum? Warm. Not expansive walls of blue and green, but warm orange, yellow, red. (Oh, no! Does this sound like a Subway Store?) Your question was "What color is best". It's like 'what ONE color is best?" even TWO? Jog your mind. Are you planning to present ONE (or even just TWO) items on the menu? What if I asked you, what One food is best to serve in a restaurant? I think people would laugh if there was only one menu item. "Welcome to the Four Seasons - We serve Only! YAMS Only!" Do you see what I'm saying? ~~~ If your menu is enticing, it probably has quite a few selections - 'variety'. It's probably balanced...and I'd hope any given dinner has a balance of foods as well. Yes? ~ Select a dinner. Look at the plate, the setting, the food, the garnishings, the foods. Are the colors warm? Are they appetizing? Well, heck, use colors similar to those...and balance, and accent, and have little highlights. It's an art. Do you agree? ~~~ Enough of that! ~~~ Did you say you wanted your restaurant customers to 'feel more comfortable and relaxed and eat more'? "Color" isn't the only or main stimulus that will move them. The service, the prices, the cleanliness, the cordiality, the professionalism, the clientele, and so on, will affect them (collectively), far more, I suspect. Regards, Mac

msleder:
My paper is in definate need of formalization, I find it very difficult to locate research results.All I come across is annedotal generalizations with no footnotes. I am a Labor/delivery RN who is back at school for a degree in Interior Design, to eventually combine the two degrees as a contract consultant My son is the manager (not full owner yet) of the Subway. As a franchise they have only 2 decor choices, but even those are better than the outdated one he is in now. And interviews/ questionaires will be full of subjective learned responses (from him and workers) But as a mom, I can tell a definate difference in his and others mood after 3-4 hrs,with West exposure,full sun thru windows strate onto yello laminate! I guess my piece will end up more fluff,bs and theory than proof, oh well, thanks for your interest, Marsha

Ty:
Have you consulted Feng Shui? Due to Franchisee agreements, I'm sure that he is very limited as to what your son can do to the decor of the restaurant. But with the help of a Feng Shui analyst he could quite possibly, incorporate some elements that would help to improve the attitudes and acceptibility of the harsh Yellow walls. Terah Katheryn Collins has a very good book out that you should consider reading, it is the Western guide to Feng Shui. I have learned so much about my state of being emotionally, and its direct correlation to my surroundings. I hope that your research paper produces a world of change in the work environment of your son.

Mac : MsLeder, I don't think you'll find gobs of research on the topic you've chosen. If/When you decide to write your paper, you might want to consider the following (from what you've written): (1.) "on the effect of bright Yellow" (2.) effects: grumpy, tense, irritable (3.) prove color connection - Yellow-links/ties-to-grumpy-tense-irritable. ~~~ The linkage you hope to show might be 'proved' if you can quantify things. Grumpy, tense, etc. seems to be 'behavioral' modes. Can you think of a way to show or quantify these behaviors? Set up the Subway environment with one color scheme. Test it for a month. Change the color scheme, test it for an additional month. Measure the difference between the months. Wait. What should you measure? How might you measure it? Gosh, lots of ways? Look at the number of customer compliants in each month. Is one high, the other lower? Set up a videocamera - observe worker behaviors. Are they observably more irritable or grumpy with one color scheme? Look at the number of sick days workers have taken or the number of arguments that have occurred. The number of wrong orders? The number of cash-register entry errors? The number of times 911 was dialed from Subway to end a brawl. Heck, there are lots of things you might considering measuring. Irritable, grumpy, tense behavior is displayed in a lot of ways. ~~~ Don't settle for a fluff, bs, mish-mosh theory kind of attempt. Anyone can guess. Attempting to measure might be a bit more scientific. ~~~ Who knows, if you do it, maybe someone will be happy they found your work footnoted at the bottom of a published page. A nice thought? Sure! Regards, Mac

JL Morton - Color Matters :
I'd agree with Mac that there's not a lot of research but Mahnke's "Color and Light in Man-made Environments" and many of Birren's books cite research related to the use of large quantites of ANY bright color and the irritating qualities of bright yellow. It's enough to confirm the subway employees reactions. Check the bibliography and links pages at Color Matters. I recently updated both of these pages. There is a lot of controversy about the physiological effects of colors, as you've probably gathered from the posts on the bulletin board. I recently published a book about color effects in workspaces and included a chapter on all the conflicting theories. Mac's idea is great! Please see the research page at Color Matters for information about publishing your research here.

Christopher Willard:
Well, you know me and I must put in my two cents worth here. I thought it would be completely contradictory but find I agree more with Jill and less with Mac. I'm of the thought that color is context...completely and a particular yellow in one context might cause one feeling while in another the same yello might cause a completely different feeling. Jill is absolutely right that here as well as with the major color theorists who ventured into semantic notions of color there is a GREAT difference of what a color makes one feel. Remember we can quantify the quantity but not the quality, or we can guarantee a quantification of the stimulus but not the psychological response.

As for yellow I worked in an office once that was painted yellow which was very very soothing to work in (at least for me... others questioned the color; at that time I hated yellow too.

There is one good researcher I know who did studies on the physiological responses to color, as found by using the ganzefield technique and she noted absolutely no difference in physiological response and color for quite a number of participants. On the other hand Nancy Kwallick in Texas (who does research for the military -- because they are interested in job performance to color) suggests that different colored offices do produce more or less errors. However I find the method of testing such as flawed. Errors in a typing test may not correspond to a color of the room because way too many outside influences can act upon the individual in the experiment.

This said, I would like to see someone devise an experiment that seems to make a strong link between color and exact emotional response. But I doubt that will ever occur. I believe color is context, as in it's surround, environment, learned semantic notions, cultural biases, etc.

Thus bottom line: we cannot be on solid ground when we say a color equals a certain emotion. It may for YOU but not for ME.

Barbara:
over-exposure to the color yellow would have the effect of making people irritable.Blue will lessen the appetite.Red could make people more aggressive. I would lobby for a neutral shade of green which is soothing and is associated with a more natural setting.

Tye:
No, not Green. Green tends to associate the mind with "mold," or spoiled food and is not a welcomed color in the food industry. However, Red commonly increases one's appetite and could possibly increase the amount of food purchased, helping the owner financially. For the benefit of the store employees, I would go with a rose colour or a warm tone of brown. But, I definitley agree that the YELLOW has got to go.


The use of color to mitigate stress

Question:
I am interested in any research findings relating to the use of color in the design of space to mitigate stress in potentially confrontational situations such as employee discipline and termination interviews. Jerry Brennan

Suz:
Several years ago I saw a documentary that claimed the color coral (orange-pink) had been shown to reduce stress and violence. When used to paint prison cells, incidences of violence decreased. Am currently doing research on color and emotion. Will post anything I find relating to your question.

Mac:
Dear Suz, In your posting you made reference to a documentary you saw, where 'they' suggested that the color pinkish-orange might help to reduce the violent tendency individuals might have. You may have seen work that was done years ago by the Lyons Institute for Behavioral Research in Takoma, WA. The research was done in part by a Dr. Alexander Schauss. He was looking for a color that 'they' could paint interrogation rooms and jail cells. He was tasked to find a color that would calm hyper-violent behavior of those being detained in the rooms. I recommended that Mr. Schauss investigate the pinkish-orange color. (Yes, I did the work, he got the credit in magazines and on TV....Hey Al!!! I'm sticking my tongue out at you!!! :-p ). Anyway, the color was effective in curbing violence action. But...there's much more to it. It backfired after awhile. I continued research...and found that homeostatic mechanisms in humans do sneaky things to people. The response an individual has to a color for one period can change as time passes. (Study acute/chronic exposure to environmental stiumuli). So, the upshot of all of this is...yes, that color works (actually is a more specific color than just pinkish-orange)....but...if you think you can paint your over-active son's room that color thinking he'll be nice and calm...think again. Your son may be nice and calm for the first 1/2 hr....or even the first day or week. But in time, he may sudden 'flip' and be even more hyper-active. Why? Homeostatis. His body will first recognize, incorporate and start a saturation path being exposed to the color. Prolonged (chronic) exposure will result in physio-saturation. The body will then attempt to re-balance. How? By matching the color (this actually would be easier to understand in graphical format ...sorry). So, if your son hung out in his room (chronically)...he would probably eventually return to an even more hyper behavior. That's what happened with the inmates in the prison's Schauss used for color testing. The pinkish-orange color was deemed a 'huge success' (at first). Weeks later it overwhelmingly backfired...and they all just couldn't figure out why. (Maybe if they read this...they'll finally realize why) :) Good luck on your color research. My studies of color began in 1969, with Dr. Max Luscher. Few have ever seen Luschers full work. It's landmark stuff. Best regards, Mac (Mac)

Color Voodoo eBooks from Color Matters