How Colours impact Humanity : Kushi Athreya (3rd – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

11 Jul

 

How Colours Impact Humanity?

Kushi Athreya – 8th Grade , Sri Kumaran 

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Take a minute and imagine the world around you without colour , how boring and unexciting life would be!… Colours play a vital role in our daily lives and it is scientifically proven that our activities and responses are influenced by colours. Kenneth Fehrman, co-author of the book, Color The Secret Influence, states that most people are unaware of the profound effect of color has on their Behavior.

Let us unravel the secrets of colours. Did you know that our eyes can perceive seventy lakh colours? Colour is a powerful and important communication tool, and it is tied to religion, political, and social life. Most of us have a favorite colour or prefer some colour over others. This is because the colour affects our moods so we surround ourselves in the colours that have positive impact on us. A research by the University of British Columbia has proven that the colour blue enhances the creativity whereas the colour red helps us focus and has a positive effect on our memory. Just like smell, taste, touch and sound influence our emotional reaction, colour is also another such stimulation that creates emotional Reactions. Tetrachromats are people who have more receptors in their eyes, their brains are wired the same way as a person with normal vision but they can see many more colours. Like if one of them saw a leaf then they will observe other pigments other than green.

Wassily Kandinksky was one of the first pioneers of colour theory. He was a renowned Russian painter and theorist, who is often considered to be the founder of abstract art, believes that colours communicate many qualities. According to him, black signifies grief, dark and unknown, white signifies harmony and silence, while green signifies peace, stillness and nature. In different parts of the world, colours are associated to different meanings. For example yellow represents courage in Japan, mourning in Egypt and hope in the West. In politics, red is often linked to socialism and communism, and white has links to surrender and pacifism while black is linked to anarchism .The effects of colour differ between people. Factors such as gender and age can influence how an individual perceives colour. Colour expert Faber Birren carried out many studies and he found that children like long wave hues (red, yellow, orange) while after maturity the prefer short wave hues (blue, green,purple).

In particular the colour red has been found to influence sports performance. During the 2004 Summer Olympics the competitors in boxing, taekwondo, freestyle wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling were randomly given blue or red uniforms. A later study found that those wearing red won 55% of all the bouts which was a statistically significant increase over the expected 50%. The colour blue is said to have calming effects. In 2000, when the company Glasgow installed blue street lights in certain neighbourhood in order to reduce the crime rate.

Our sense of taste is often fooled by our sense of sight. This is because humans have certain expectations of how food should look. When the colour of food is off or is different than what we expect, our brain tells us that it tastes different too. Supported by scientific studies, we use visual cues from colour to identify and judge the quality and taste of what we eat.To give the impression of a certain taste, flavour, or quality, food colouring or dyes are added to processed, packaged, and even fresh foods. For example adding a red colorant to the skin of an apple, may influence consumers into believing the apple is sweeter in taste. In a study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers
found that people confused flavours when a drink did not have the appropriate colour. A cherry- flavoured drink manipulated to be orange in colour was thought to taste like an orange drink, and a cherry drink manipulated to be green in colour was thought to taste like lime.

Colour therapy is the use of colour in a variety of ways to promote health and healing. The different colours we see in the world around us are the result of the eye perceiving light vibrating at different frequencies. Sunlight, or full-spectrum light, holds all the wavelengths of colour in the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and magenta) as well as infrared and ultraviolet light, which cannot be seen. Used to treat both physical and emotional problems, colour therapy may involve exposure to coloured lights, massages using colour-saturated oils, contemplating and visualizing colours, even wearing coloured clothing and eating coloured foods.

Not surprisingly, colour has been played a role in healing for centuries. At the temple of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt, patients were treated in rooms specifically designed to break up the sun’s rays into the colours of the spectrum. People also made regular pilgrimages to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, to take advantage of the healing colours of the exotic plants and flowers found there. In India, practitioners of Ayurveda, taught that specific colours corresponded with each of the seven chakras, the energy centres that represent organs, emotions, and aspects of the spirit. (Today Ayurveda medicine continues to use colour to treat a wide range of mental and physical imbalances.)

The beauty of the world is magnified through colours. Colours play a huge and subtle role in human life. They instigate our emotions, actions and our belief, playing an emphatic role in our life and instill imagination, creativity thus, changing the way we look at the world.

 

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