Advertising
Advertising

4 Ways Color and Light Influence your Mind and Emotions

4 Ways Color and Light Influence your Mind and Emotions

The spectrum of color and light is a vast kaleidoscope, a pallet with which your brain works to paint a picture. What does your painting look like? Adjusting the colors you wear, the colors you surround yourself with, and the lighting around you will help you adjust your emotions. This is a matter of understanding not just the generalizations and applications generated by scientific research, but your own associations as well.

Adjusting the colors you wear, the colors you surround yourself with, and the lighting around you will help you adjust your emotions. This is a matter of understanding not just the generalizations and applications generated by scientific research, but your own associations as well.

1. Color temperature

640px-planckian-locus

    In layman’s terms, color temperature is the intensity and brightness of light. As the term color temperature suggests, the level of brightness has a direct bearing on color. You can view an interactive example of color temperature’s effect on a room at the Lightbulbs website. Note how the different levels of light change the hue of the room.

    The 6500K setting renders the room bluer and is closest to the sun’s intensity at high noon. The lower the color temperature, the warmer and more golden the light, the warmer the color of the room.

    Advertising

    Light at a higher color temperature promotes a higher level of alertness, while lower, redder light has a calming effect. Simply the way you light a room can help determine your level of energy.

    2. Blue light and sleep

    blue_light_by_artful_krayons

      Bluer light, which has a higher color temperature, is closer to midday sunlight and has an alerting property. Research from PLOS Biology explains how this type of light interacts with the brain. Blue light interacts with a photopigment called melanopsin. Melanopsin is especially sensitive to blue light, and together with the rods and cones in our eyes, it signals the brain to be vigilant. Green light has the opposite effect—it promotes sleep. According to the researchers, “All studies converge to show that blue-enriched light is more efficient in increasing performance and decreasing sleepiness.”

      Your cell phone and your computer screen emit a great deal of blue light. Have you looked into how a lack of sleep affects your mood? If you’re getting too much blue light throughout the day, particularly near bedtime, your sleep may be suffering. In turn, you’re crankier, more depressed, overly emotional.

      The good news is you now know that green light helps with sleep. Working on a computer all day? A program such as F.lux adjusts your screen’s color temperature so you’re not constantly inundated with blue light.

      Advertising

      3. Color and light

      sunset-476465_640

        I’ve been discussing the color temperature of light and its effect on the brain. Light also determines how we see color. When light hits an object, such as a banana, the banana absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest. When you look at a banana and see yellow, it’s because the banana is reflecting back light that fits within a certain wavelength. That wavelength corresponds to the color yellow.

        bananas-1119790_640

          In turn, your brain has a certain association with the color yellow. The association our brains have with colors, and the resulting emotions and impulses, are very important. For one, they influence something as simple as choosing a tablecloth.

          Occitan Imports has an interesting point to make here. In the blog post, A Simple Question of Color, they chronicle how a customer asked if a red tablecloth was more on the ‘blue side’, or the ‘orange side’, of red. The answer to the question would determine the purchase. Occitan points out that, “The color of an object is heavily influenced by the nature of the light that is hitting it.” This is because, as you saw earlier, the color temperature of light interacts with the hue of objects.

          Advertising

          Try changing the color temperature of the light in your room to see how it affects your mood. To treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and other common mood disorders, counselors often recommend light therapy. Light therapy alters color temperature to simulate sunlight, which really brings out the full color of things.

          4. Color and the emotions

          emotion

            How, exactly, color alters emotions is still being studied. A study of college students found that they had the most positive emotional responses to the principle colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

            Red is associated with excitement, passion, and warmth. Green is calm, refreshing, balanced. Yellow is stimulating, optimistic, confident, friendly. Blue is intellectual, logical, trustworthy. Violet is luxurious, authentic, spiritually aware.

            These are the positive associations, but the study also found cultural and personal experience creates positive or negative associations. There are negative emotional analogues to colors. Yellow is oftentimes associated with fear, red with rage, green with boredom, violet with feelings of inferiority, and blue with coldness and unfriendliness.

            Advertising

            Black can be associated with emotional security and safety, but it also can suggest menace and emotional coldness. Brown can be reliable, supportive, serious, but it can also be humorless. Pink can be tranquil, warm, and loving, but too much can be emotionally claustrophobic. Orange can be fun, vibrant and active, but can also be frustratingly frivolous and immature. Gray is neutral at best. White is clear and pure, but can be unfriendly, expressionless, sterile.

            To evoke certain emotions with colors, to alter mood, pay attention to the emotions colors cause in you. If you’re feeling dull and trapped, try red. If you’re feeling anxious, try green. If it seems like you make people feel uncertain, try blue. Work with the lighting and the colors in your workspace and your home until you find a balance that feels right to you.

            Work with the lighting and the colors in your workspace and your home until you find a balance that feels right to you.

            More by this author

            Dan Matthews, CPRP

            A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

            Why Happiness is a Choice (And a Smart One to Make) 15 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Worrying About Everything How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs and Get Over Them 15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included) How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have

            Trending in Brain

            1 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 2 Are You Right-Brain Dominant? (7 Right Brain Characteristics) 3 17 Ways To Develop a Growth Mindset 4 7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power 5 How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on January 21, 2020

            5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

            5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

            Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

            All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

            The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

            “Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

            The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

            “The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

            The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

            “The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

            So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

              Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

              1. Build a Memory Palace

                What is it?

                The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

                How to use it?

                Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

                “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

                Example

                An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

                • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
                • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
                • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
                • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
                • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

                You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

                2. Mnemonic

                  What is it?

                  A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

                  How to use it?

                  Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

                  Example

                  I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

                  I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

                  Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

                  Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

                  Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

                  Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

                  C

                  J

                  H

                  D

                  Advertising

                  P

                  Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

                  Cubs

                  Just

                  Hate

                  Doing

                  Push-ups

                  Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

                  3. Mnemonic Peg System

                    What is it?

                    According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

                    How to use it?

                    The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

                    Example

                    Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

                    0 = hero

                    1 = gun

                    2 = shoe

                    Advertising

                    3 = tree

                    4 = door

                    5 = hive

                    6 = sticks

                    7 = heaven

                    8 = gate

                    9 = line

                    Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

                    4. Chunking

                      What is it?

                      Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

                      How to use it?

                      In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

                      Example

                      Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

                      Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

                      081127882

                      Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

                      Advertising

                      081 – 127 – 882

                      Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

                      “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

                      5. Transfer of Learning

                        What is it?

                        Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

                        “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

                        How to use it?

                        There are two specific ways to use it:

                        1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
                        2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

                        Example

                        I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

                        Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

                        The Bottom Line

                        The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

                        We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

                        Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

                        “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

                        More About Enhancing Memories

                        Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
                        [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
                        [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
                        [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
                        [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

                        Read Next