In One’s True Colours: Nuances of Colour Cognition (pp. 271-277)
Authors: Sreela P. Nair
Abstract: Colour cognition is just as cryptic as it is simple. Colour preferences are not unique and monolithic in all given situations. Very few who positively respond to colour have unconditional preferences. Colours are often perceived in unison than individually though certain colours have a dynamic effect. The notion of colour begins in one’s life as a physical property and later becomes a subjective experience. It interests the scientific investigator in the fields of physics, physiology and vision science, and with all these interests conjoined, in psychology. Sir Isaac Newton discovered the seven component colours of the white light spectrum. Also, colour properties were known to be a function of the medium on which colours were visible and the quality of the surrounding light. Colours then began to be classified as (1) warm and cold colours; then as (2) heavy and light colours/saturated and desaturated colours. Researchers have tried to evolve gradative colour systems to understand the properties of colours better. Thus we have systems like Munsell, Ostwald, CIE and RBG. Having tested the impact of colours on target groups researchers have also arrived at staple facts about colour, such as the arousal properties of red, the depleting property of bright yellow, and so on. Although some people are affected by dyscromatops (colour perception disorder), many people still have highly subjective and idiosyncratic responses to colour. C. G. Jung correlates high affectivity with a heightened colour sense. Just as it is easy to have platitudes in the domain of colour psychology, categorisation is often dangerous and limiting too.