• UnEarthed

Can color really affect our behavior?

By: Kristine Enemuo


We are surrounded by color everywhere we look. But do you know that colors can affect the way we act and feel? There’s still so much to learn on this topic, but here is what we do know about the effects of color in our daily lives.


Appetite

The color of your plate can affect how much you eat! Studies have shown that when the color of your plate is more different than the food you eat, it may decrease your appetite. For example, if you eat red pasta on a white plate, you would likely eat less than if you ate red pasta on a red plate.


Not only can the color of your plate influence how much you eat, but certain colors can also make us more or less hungry than others. The color orange is known to increase hunger and is often used a lot in fast food packaging. On the other hand, the color blue is known to make people less hungry because other than blueberries, there are hardly any natural foods that are blue in color.


Sleep

Did you know that certain colors of light can affect your sleep? Melatonin, a chemical our

bodies produce, tells our bodies that it is time to sleep. In other words, it makes us sleepy. However, blue light (found in our tablets, smartphones, and TVs) stops our bodies from producing melatonin. So rather than feeling sleepy, blue light makes us stay awake by tricking our brains into thinking that it is daytime. To catch a good night’s sleep, it would probably be a great idea to avoid watching TV right before going to bed.


Alertness

The reason why we can see the world around us is because of light. One cool fact about light is that it is a wave. When these waves of light have different lengths (known as wavelengths), we are able to see different colors! The colors of the rainbow have different wavelengths of light, with red having the longest and violet having the shortest wavelength.

Due to its very long wavelength, red is one of the colors we can see the most. Red can easily grab our attention, making us more alert and prepared for possible danger. Stop signs are red because they help us to stop and be more alert on the road.

You may probably ask, “How exactly can the color red make us more alert?” And that’s a great question! Our brains see red as a signal of danger and trigger a “fight or flight” response in our bodies. In other words, the color red can prepare our bodies to either attack or run away from a threatening situation. Your heart starts beating faster, you breathe at a faster rate, and your face may start to get red. This fight or flight response helps us to react faster to dangerous situations and makes us more alert.


Calmness

While red makes your body more alert, blue and green relax your body. These two colors can lower your breathing rate and blood pressure. If you’ve had surgery before, maybe part of the reason a nurse helped you feel calmer was that their scrubs were blue or green!


Colors impact our lives much more than we think! Scientists are still studying the effects of colors on our feelings and behavior, so there is still much to learn about this topic!


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