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Colour associated emotional and behavioural responses: A study on the associations emerged via imagination

Authors:

Anishka A Hettiarachchi ,

Dept of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, LK
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Nimal De Silva

Professor Emeritus, Dept of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, LK
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Abstract

Perception of colour stimuli is found to trigger correspond­ing emotional and behavioural responses within human beings. Literature establishes that red is stimulating while blue is pacifying. There seems to be divided theories on how these associations are being generated. It is argued widely that colour associated emotional responses are learnt and subjective while another theory is that it is a general innate response. A third theory discusses about a combination of both learnt and innate responses. The present paper reviews literature on the above three sup­positions and enlightens on a study done seeking innate, general emotional reactions triggered by colour stimuli.

A questionnaire survey was conducted using guided imagination technique with a group of volunteer under­graduate students (n=86). The participants were guided to imagine five emotional/behavioural states spontane­ously and recognize the corresponding colour/colours.

The findings to a greater extent support the general emotional responses triggered by colour stimuli. Red and orange (79%) was dominating in their imaginations as appetizing and blue as least appetizing (60%). None (0%) imagined red as a calming colour and blue (2%) as a violent colour. The study also revealed certain learnt emotional responses. For instance, white (51%) was found to be calming, suspect to be a religiously and so­cially learnt emotion.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/besl.v11i1.4583

Built - Environment - Sri Lanka, Vol. 11 , Issue 01 : 2012: 21-27

Keywords: colour associations 
DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/besl.v11i1.4583
How to Cite: Hettiarachchi, A.A. & De Silva, N., (2012). Colour associated emotional and behavioural responses: A study on the associations emerged via imagination. Built-Environment Sri Lanka. 11(1), pp.21–27. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/besl.v11i1.4583
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Published on 23 Aug 2012.
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