The Effect of Color on Emotions

4.3 based on 22 ratings

Updated on Jun 11, 2013

Color has an effect on human psychology. For most people, associations made with certain colors give us a preference for one color or another. Though we show color preference on a conscious level, color preference manifests on an unconscious level as well. Studies show that the colors a person surrounds themselves with can have an effect on that person’s emotional state. Furthermore, a person’s emotional state may affect the colors they choose to wear, which forms a cycle of wearing the same color and feeling the same way each day. This may be a positive cycle for someone surrounding themselves with a color that brings them happiness but may also make it difficult for a person to get out of a depressive slump.

The purpose of this experiment is to learn whether people choose to wear certain colors because of their current emotional state and also whether the colors they wear effect their emotions over the course of the day.


Can color affect a person’s emotional state?


  • Participants willing to answer a questionnaire each day for one week.


  1. Find 20 or so volunteers who are willing to answer a few simple questions each day for a week (you can run the experiment longer if you have time). Try to choose volunteers from different social circles. Do not let your subjects know that you are taking notes on the colors they are wearing.
  2. Keep a different page for each of your volunteers. Use their names in your notes but let them know that they will remain anonymous when the results are presented.
  3. Find your first subject, or plan to meet with them quickly at a certain time each day.
  4. In your notebook, quickly jot down the time and a few notes about the subject’s outfit.
  5. Ask your subject to describe how they felt when they woke up in the morning. Insist that they go into more depth than simply “sleepy.”
  6. Record their answer in your notebook.
  7. Ask your subject how they feel now.
  8. Record their answer in your notebook.
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 for each subject on each day.
Writer and educator Crystal Beran is rarely seen without a pen. Her adventures have brought her to four continents and her quest for answers has led her to discover more questions than she could fill all the pages with. She currently resides in Northern California, where she can be found sipping tea and writing books.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely