Colour me happy

03:18, Aug 06 2013
COLOURS AFFECT OUR MOOD: Some colours are calming, others stress-making; some appetising and others quite the opposite.

Our sex lives, moods, appetites and brain function are all affected by different colours.

Scientists are continuously exploring the psychology behind colour and discovering the powerful influence it has on our mood and emotions.

Designer and research associate with the University of Sydney, Dr Zena O'Connor, whose interests include colour theory, explains: "While there are no 'hard-wired' linkages between environmental colours and particular judgmental or emotional states, popular culture suggests colour prompts a range of different human responses: psychological, biological, and behavioural."

Looking for love? That dream job? Or wanting to lose weight? Here is a colourful insight into how to make the rainbow work for you.


Blue is not just Kate Middleton's favourite colour to wear, but is overwhelmingly the world's favourite colour.


Dr Martin Williams, lecturer in corporate communications and advertising at the University of Technology, Sydney, explains the Duchess of Cambridge's clothing colour choices. "From ancient times, blue has been the colour of royalty, formality, seriousness and authority, so conservative Kate uses this colour to establish these values," he says.

Kate landed her prince, but if it's that dream job you're after, blue is best. Studies show wearing navy blue to an interview inspires confidence and connotes loyalty.

Want to lose weight? Dieticians suggest eating off a blue plate, as it's a natural appetite suppressant, because we've evolved to be wary of blue foods, which indicate poison.


Looking to get noticed by the opposite sex? Turns out being a scarlet woman really could do the trick.

Studies from New York's University of Rochester suggest men are more attracted to, and are likely to spend more money on women wearing red, as it works as an aphrodisiac and symbol of lust.

It's a red road to glory too when it comes to sport, with researchers at the University of Sunderland finding athletes wearing red triumphed on the playing field more often than those wearing any other colour.


Yellow ain't so mellow, with psychologists finding babies cry and partners argue more in bold yellow rooms. This is because the light reflects at a higher intensity off bright colours, making yellow an eye irritant.

But the right tone of yellow also triggers the release of feel-good brain chemical serotonin, promoting happiness, which explains why smiley faces are traditionally yellow.

Science has also shown yellow stimulates your metabolism, "wakes up" the brain and improves memory and concentration.


Need a stress-buster? As it appears to have a wavelength easily seen by the eye, green is the least-offensive colour to look at. As a result, it has a calming, restorative effect, which is why television studios have "green rooms" to calm guests' nerves before they appear.

If you are what you wear and looking to impress the in-laws, go for green, as well-balanced individuals tend to wear green, yellow is the choice of intellectuals, extroverts like red and introverts blue.


Studies have found the girly hue of pink has a calming effect on the body - lowering the heart rate and reducing muscle strength.

Dr Alexander Schauss, director of the American Institute for Biosocial and Medical Research in Washington, was the first to discover how the shade dampens down anger and anxiety in the late 70s saying "it's a tranquillising colour that saps your energy".

The findings saw football stadiums in the US paint their visitor locker rooms pink in the hope it would pacify and physically weaken their opponents.


Christian Grey may have his red room of pain in Fifty Shades of Grey but it turns out purple is the best colour if you're wanting to ramp up your sex life. In a recent study by Brtitish retailer reported in The Sun people with purple bedrooms had sex more frequently each week.


Increasing productivity in the office might be as simple as a lick of citrus paint, as orange increases productivity and encourages communication.

Combining the effects of red and yellow, orange also has a positive influence on emotional states, and is the ideal colour to wear for exams as it stimulates mental abilities.