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My extended essay shall inform the analysis on the study of human mental state, psychology. But more specifically, I will extend the distinctive relationship between the choice of colors and Psychology.
There are lots of evidences that prove the statement of "Color affects one's mood." But we are not exposed that much to the statement that "Mood affects the choice of color". So in this paper, I will demonstrate the interaction between color and mood. In order to achieve this, the relationship between the choice of colors and the artist' mental state will be dealt in depth. Through this analysis we will be conscious that selecting precise colors can be affected by psychological study as mental state or mood can be influenced by colors. Therefore, writing words on the deep association between the colors and Psychology will allow us to access and understand not only the psychological study but also Art, especially colors, more profoundly.
In addition to a section for the abstract and the presentation of the topic, research question and approach, this essay will consist of three more sections, excluding the conclusion part. First part will deal with the question of "How color affects the mood". Second part will show "How mood can affect the choice of color". In order to achieve this, I will share demonstrate several evidences which can be easily found in our real lives. Finally, the conclusion brings a matter to an end that considering the psychological effects on the process of producing art works, especially choosing right colors, artists can create qualified and unique masterpieces which will clearly show how the producers feel and think while they are crafting work of art and considering the color effects on psychology people can take advantage of using color to the distinctive areas of psychology such as therapy or mind control.
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The relationship between Color and Psychology
An Analysis of Interaction between Mental Statement and the Choice of Colors
When we draw or make art works, it is clear that the style of an artist is unique but his or her art works' component always alters. Even though a same artist produces several masterpieces, each of the works can upholds unique size, theme, mood, type of lines, message, materials and the choice of colors. Consequently, the question that comes to our mind is, "What factor affects the differences between works of art of an artist?" Many people reckon the factors that affect the choice of colors in works of art the most are external acquirements such as artistic knowledge, generation that artist lived, significant experiences or the inspiration from the other great artists. But I am willing to declare the internal acquirements such as feeling, mood, mental state or depression formed from the illness that has been occupied one's mind while the artist is creating art works can be the enormous factors as well. Then let us see the relationship between the color and emotion that is created by each color.
1- "How does color affect one's mood?"
Color is one of the elements that has a significant psychological influence on people. The theory that clearly explains the relationship between the color and emotion and psychological influence on people is 'color psychology'. Even though the effects that the colors provide to people are subjective, there are significant symbol and meaning that is known worldwide. Then, how does each color affects the human being's mental state?
"If one says 'Red' - the name of color - and there are fifty people listening,it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different."
This is a quote from Josef Albers. As he said, red has a lot of meaning which are significant. Therefore, it is important to know correctly what red represents. First, if you want to catch people's eyes, red is the right color to use. It brings attention and gives importance to where it used. We can see this from daily life. For example, there is no doubt that all the warning signs are emphasized with the color, red, in order to catch people's eyes. It is the same reason for the teachers to use red pen to check the tests to let the students to know what they get right and what they get wrong right after the students take a look at their own tests. In the garden, red roses are placed to attract the attention. The terminology 'red flag' also stands for a warning of danger. The phrase 'not worth a red cent' stands for having no value. A quote from Derek Jarman, "painters use red like spice", also shows that red refers to importance. All these evidences highly demonstrate that red represents the importance. Red also represents movement and excitement. It increases the heart beat. That is why when people see or drive the red sports cars, they are more excited and enthusiastic than when they look at the white cars. The terminology 'red letter day' means a joyful, happy and memorable day. Red represents energy. One of the reasons why 'Red Bull' company used color red on their logo is to emphasize that this drink provides energy. Red represents a notion of the protection from anxiety and fears. We can see this from several organizations such as American Heart Association, American Red Cross, The Red Ribbon which stands for the international AIDS campaign and The Red Ribbon Campaign (a drug prevention program). As we can see only one color red has several implications for different cases. Here are two examples that highly demonstrate the effect of the color red in our daily life.
Why Do Restaurants Have Red Signs?
Which color comes to mind when you think of fast food restaurants such as Popeyes, Pizza Hut or KFC? It must be red. Most restaurants use warm colors like red, orange and yellow for their sign boards. The reason why they prefer the color red is because they believe in "color psychology" we talked above that holds that warm colors make you think of something sweet, thus bringing in an appetite. This theory is based on the studies of Faber Birren, an American color psychologist. Therefore, the function of a restaurant signboard is "psychological sales promotion" that makes people want to eat, as well as simply being a "notice board". Many fast food restaurants have their interior done in a red color scheme. Pizza Hut and Popeyes mainly use red and orange in their interiors. KFC completed remodeling, using a warm beige and red color scheme in 2004. It is said one of the Korean food company, Orion Confectionery Company, also considered this factor when they changed the packaging color of their 'Choco-pie' (similar to a moon pie in USA) product. There were many employees who were against the idea of changing the color to red like exported Choco-Pies. At the time, Orion's Choco-pie has already positioned itself with blue package as a long running brand, so red package was difficult to accept. Then a consumer research study showed that consumer's preference for red package was higher than when the package was in blue. Orion company boldly carried out the change and Choco-Pies became more beloved by consumers.
Wear Red Uniforms and Win Games
Red is called the color of victory. On the 9th, the Korean National Soccer Team won a 4-0 victory versus Kuwait. This proved once again a common belief that red is the color of victory. There have been many controversies over this for a long time. Some have noted that seeing red uniforms cheers opponents. Dr. Russell Hill of Durham University has ended these controversies by publishing an article in the May issue of Nature. He conducted that wearing red uniforms leads to a higher probability of winning. The research team analyzed boxing, Taekwondo, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Players chose to wear either blue or red uniforms. As a result of this experiment, the percentage of victory for red uniforms was greater than a half, 55%. The highest percentage was found in Taekwondo, Korean martial art. Dr. Russell said, "If two players are very evenly matched, the percentage of victory for the player in a red uniform goes up to 60%." The research team also investigated the percentage of victory for each national team in the 2004 European Football Championship. Each team chose between two different colors to wear for every game. When a team wore red uniforms, the team was more likely to win, and also scored more goals. Dr. Russell argued that more testosterone is released to raise aggressiveness when someone wears a red uniform. That is why the players got better score when they wore red uniforms.
"Everyone knows that yellow, orange, and red suggest ideas of joy and plenty."
As the quote from Eugene Delacroix says, yellow is the one of the colors that represents cheer, happiness and joy as red. Because of this reason, optimism has a deep correlation to color yellow. For example, if we are shown an environment covered with yellow, we get to feel very optimistic and happy. But it does not mean that the amount of yellow on the wall is proportional to the level of happiness and optimism you get. If we live in a house in which all the walls are covered with yellow, our anger can be increased simultaneously and even make the babies to cry easily. However, yellow can be very useful and influential color if we use appropriate amount. Yellow also boosts the creativity and trigger to make your memory better. That is why most of the pencils and formal envelopes in United States are yellow. Yellow represents tart, sour and sweet at the same time. This is actually proven by our daily life experiences. What do we feel when we see lemon, pineapple or banana? The answer for this question is 'Appetite'. It is clearly shown from your experience that those yellow fruits provoke your appetite only by looking at them.
Green represents for nature, relaxation, wealth and comfort. We can clearly see from the forest and nature. Imagine yourself being in a forest. We might feel very comfortable, relaxed and fresh. That makes clear the reason why many of resting rooms for music performers are green, to make them relaxed and to be comfortable and they are actually called green rooms. Also green is the color that is visible the most to the human beings eyes. That is why the sign of the hospitals are green, in order to catch people's eyes for emergency. And this fact also explains why night vision goggles are green. There are several phrases which support the significance of the color Green. For example, the phrase 'going green' stands for a person or an object that takes an action with the purpose of making positive changes in our nature or environment. Moreover, the terminology 'lettuce' sometimes stands for money (wealth).
Blue represents creativity, peace, calmness, pacification, freshness and open space. Blue helps you to increases the inspiration and stimulation. Due to the calming effect of the color blue, room in dark blue can have a sedative effect. Also it promotes physical and mental relaxation.
2- "How does one's mood affects the choice of color?"
Up to the previous section, we clearly get to see how the color affects one's mood with the examples. Then it gives us an opportunity to think about how one's mood affects the choice of the color, which is the opposite of what we saw from the previous section. Then let us take a look at three cases which support the statement that "it is true that one's emotional statement can affect the choice of color".
Magnificent Paintings : The Result of Painters' Ailments?
Do you think it is true that the magnificent paintings are the result of sickness? Most of the people would stand against this argument. But recently, a unique question about Rembrandt was raised. Rembrandt, a distinguished painter in the 17th century, had exotropia, and some critics have suggested that Rembrandt could paint his masterpieces because of his exotropia. The critics also pointed out that Claude Monet could draw "Water Lilies" due to his recovery from cataracts, and that Vincent van Gogh's glowing yellow-gold color in "Sunflowers" is indebted to a side effect of his favorite alcoholic drink. Let's take a close look at the relationships between magnificent paintings and their painters' depression from the sickness.
1.Van Gogh's Use of Yellow
Since the 1990s, some American doctors have discussed the relationships between distinguished paintings and their painters' sicknesses. They claim that van Gogh had more than a hundred sicknesses, including a brain tumor, manic-depressive sickness, mental dissociation and a magnesium deficiency, which led him to serious and deep stage of depression. Professor Moon Guk Jin of Korea University mentioned that "the glowing yellow- gold color is exceptionally distinguished in 'Sunflowers.'" He explained that the glowing yellow-gold appealed to van Gogh because he had xanthopsia from drinking too much absinthe. Absinthe is liquor and contains materials that can damage the optic nerves. Later on, this deed of drinking too much absinthe brought him an extremely bad eyesight and only blue and yellow were the colors that were emphasized by the eyes of Van Gogh.
2. Monet's Cataracts Versus Renoir's Arthritis
Monet had cataracts for longer than ten years, but then he recovered after corrective surgery. Before the surgery, the objects in his paintings were blurred and most colors were yellowish. Cataract patients easily recognize the color yellow, but they do not recognize bluish colors. Monet finished his masterpiece, "Water Lilies", four years after the surgery. That is why the painting, "Water Lilies", is painted mostly with blue, due to his ability of recognize color blue after the surgery.
On the other hand, Renoir changed his painting style due to arthritis. Professor Moon said, "Renoir could not use his fingers comfortably because of rheumatoid arthritis, which was caused by his extreme irregular life caused by the depression that had been surrounding him for a long time. After reviewing his paintings it is very clear that his painting style after the surgery is different from the style before the surgery". Renoir painted "The Bathers" from 1884 to 1887 and from 1918 to 1919. Before he had arthritis, he portrayed the women's voluptuous beauty in undressed and glossy hair that is distinguished from the background with the dark and cold colors. As his arthritis developed and the depression reached its highest point, Renoir tied his painting brush between his fingers and portrayed fat women with big bellies with warm and brighter color.