The color reflects the mood

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The color reflects the mood: happiness is yellow, depression is gray

Il colore rispecchia lo stato d’animo, Giallo allegria
Yellow cheer


Il colore rispecchia lo stato d’animo, Grigio depressione
Gray depression

The favorite color of the depressed is not blue but gray. Manchester University researchers investigated the relationship between mood and color. Gray, yellow and blue were the possible options.

Those who are ill choose cold tones while those who are well choose warm ones. But this type of non-verbal communication can be the key to diagnosing some diseases

“Feelin ‘blue”? Wrong, if you are depressed your color is gray while if you are feeling happy, yellow. A study published in the journal BMC Medical Research Methodology proves that the colors we choose can be a mirror of our mood.

In short, our emotions would be “colored” and there would be a precise link between our mental state and the possibilities offered by the chromatic scale.

The survey was conducted by Peter Whorwell of University Hospital South Manchester: “Studying colors is a way like any other to measure levels of anxiety and depression, which, however, is independent of language”.

In short, a more instinctive method of analysis, because it is based on immediate mental associations: this is why scientists emphasize the usefulness of this system for diagnosing pathologies in children and patients who have difficulty in communicating.

The association between colors and mood has always been part of our cultural heritage. So much so that to refer to emotional states we often use colors: being green with envy or black with anger are idioms that mix popular wisdom and scientific truth. And it is precisely to investigate this last aspect that the British researchers have started to study the color wheel, examining individuals who are partly healthy and partly depressed or with anxiety problems.

Il colore rispecchia lo stato d’animo, Nero rabbia
Black anger

Scientists put 105 healthy adults, 110 anxious and 108 depressed adults in front of a color scale consisting of 38 options and based on red, orange, green, purple, blue, yellow, pink, brown, black, white and gray. The colors were distributed on a wheel and each person was asked to indicate which hue they saw their most recurrent mental state.

Depressed people have chosen a gray scale, healthy people a yellow one. Among the most popular cold colors the “blue 27”, slightly darker than the traditional one, while the “yellow 14” has depopulated among those who do not have particular mood problems.

Il colore rispecchia lo stato d’animo, Arcobaleno

In the second part of the study, 204 healthy volunteers were asked to divide the colors into positive, negative and neutral, and to indicate their preferred ones. Only 39% of them associated their mood with a color and 20% of those who did so opted – once again – for “yellow 14”. Only 10% of healthy people described their mood with gray. And this, according to scholars, depends on the fact that our brain instantly associates the state with a sector of the chromatic scale, communicating with the outside through colors.

“What is really interesting – explained Whorwell – is that despite having always associated the tones with our mood, a real study on this relationship has never been done”. The scientist also recalled the importance of shades: a bright blue for example indicates a very different choice than dark blue.

“I am currently working on patients with irritable bowel syndrome, therefore very anxious. I hope that the color wheel can be used to understand their response to psychological treatments: there are cases where words are not needed and non-verbal methods are more effective “. In short, according to the scholar, colors could cure many types of diseases. “We have a new game and research tool in our hands – concludes Whorwell – everything now depends on finding out the infinite possibilities of application”.

However, chromotherapy already exists and is an alternative medicine that uses colors to treat diseases. Their use is normally regulated by principles similar to those that lead us to choose the color of a dress or the color of the walls of the house, in order to favor or contrast a certain mood.

According to this type of medicine, the colors would help the body and the psyche to regain the natural balance and have physical and psychic effects able to stimulate the body and calm its ailments. However, no chromotherapy practice has ever passed a controlled clinical study, which allows to verify its effective efficacy, and often the healing episodes have been associated with the placebo effect.




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