Time for a simple question: what is your favourite colour?
I know that it’s a fairly trivial ‘small-talk’ question, yet our colour preferences can have some interesting implications.
Think about this:
- Do you ever wear your favourite colour? If so, how do you feel different when you are wearing it, compared to some other colour?
- Do you choose to put your favourite colour somewhere in your environment? Is it, for example, the colour of your car, your sofa, your carpet or your wallpaper?
My point is that you have a preference for a certain colour because it connects to good feelings. For many people, only a specific shade of that colour will do – and the closer you match that colour, the better it feels.
We don’t all have a conscious awareness of this effect, though it affects us subliminally. So if you don’t wear your favourite colour, what would it be like if you did? What if your car was that colour? Your environment might have a more positive background effect on your state of mind.
And fairly soon, you’ll be noticing that particular colour everywhere. This last part is a psychological effect called ‘priming‘ and its effects can be more general than just reinforcing your preferred positive associations.
Put simply, there are more general colour effects that influence specific types of awareness.
For example, red enhances the performance of tasks that demand attention, while blue enhances performance at creative tasks according to a recent study.
So if you want to create a more resourceful and pleasant environment for yourself, colour is a good place to start. And it’s only the beginning of the way in which environment can affect our moods and behaviour.
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