In the category of Medical Advocacy one particular facet of benefiting patients and staff that is hardly ever mentioned, is the use of color. It’s also home for my love of Decor and Design which helped support my family for decades. I am semi retired. Some things you just can not quit.
- Color is well known to enhance learning, memory, performance, rest, over and under stimulation, relaxation and energy usage. Color is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in its purest form is energy. Did you know that pure color has its singular function in the Electromagnetic Spectrum? Each Color even has its own wave lengths? Energy that goes to the brain….. What if we told you that colors can affect neurological pathways in the brain? And that they can create a biochemical response?
- Personally I believe it’s clear that color has been overlooked for far too long. Dr. Robert Gerard recognizes this and has pioneered research, which suggests that every color has a specific wavelength, and each of these affect our body and brain in a different way. Our children, the ill, our businesses, class rooms, hospitals, have overlooked this strong component in everyday life.
How Do Colors Influence Learning?
Learning is a difficult field to understand, and there’s so much research out there discussing these issues that it’s hard to know where to begin. What’s pretty obvious though is that color plays a key role in creating an environment that fosters learning and behavior. So is spatial planning, but we will get into that in another blog. Soon.
So let’s talk about color – What colors help learning? Mood? What colors might be annoying or distracting to students? And how can we mitigate some risk taking? For instance, we would never want to place someone who becomes easily bored, or one who has a hard time with concentration, or focus in a red environment. They would not relax and would likely devolve even more. Nor should someone easily stimulated, or has ADHD in an all orange or red room. Neither of these groups should be placed in the same color space for any significant period. Chaos could ensue and learning curtailed or at the very least subdued.. t
Some people are of the mind set that “Colors aren’t important.”Oh yeah – then how do you explain traffic lights, warning signs, and rainbows? Color is important.
Using the right color, and the correct selection and placement can seriously affect feelings, attention, and behavior when learning and in living. It’s time that we leveraged that to our advantage. Even research with Alzheimer’s patients has shown that color cues improve memory and that students recall images in color more easily than images in black and white – amazing, right?
Now listen, we’re not expecting you to be the next Picasso– but a fundamental understanding of which colors work will benefit you to no end. So that’s what I would like to do now. We’ll be going through a few colors and have a look at what they could mean to you and your family or business needs– and the biological response they can elicit. Realizing of course, that this isn’t a definitive science. And there are a myriad of colors. For the sake of space we will only look at a humble few of today’s most popular.
There are unique elements to color choice. We all have our favorites or colors we can’t stand. (Mine is beige, ugh) It might even be that you’re scared of blue because you’re scared of water? Or prefer purples because it makes you feel regal? However, what we’re going for here is a broad-strokes approach that helps us appeal to the most people with the right colors for a variety of projects. Obviously, in a one on one design consultation personal preferences and needs would be pulled out and considered. For instance your son or daughter might be visual learners? (Like me).
1) Green: Concentration
You probably know this already, since we just talked about it a bit, and just by taking a look at a forest or a field. Low wavelength colors promote restfulness and calm, and they improve efficiency and focus.
So that’s why green is an excellent color for improving concentration. Apart from being one of the easiest colors on the eyes, it reminds us of nature. That’s why TV stars stay in the ‘green room’. It’s a relaxing space. A patient with serious hypertension a green environment could be very beneficial.
Green is a good color for keeping long-term concentration and clarity, making it a good choice for an office – as opposed to red, which is seen as stimulating and exciting. Maybe it helps in the short term, but stimulation has to tail off sometimes.
Interestingly enough, there’s some real scientific evidence for this. Some studies have shown that people who work in green offices have higher rates of job satisfaction, and consumers have been shown to spend more time shopping in stores that are painted green . Did you notice how many restaurants have green in the decor? It stimulates the appetite and relaxes you into staying for awhile. Maybe order that last piece of pecan pie. Which reminds us that in our homes and we are dieting we need to repaint the green kitchen, to blue.
Another study, led by Dr. Kate Lee, examined 150 university students. She gave the group a boring, monotonous task that dragged their attention span to a breaking point, pressing a series of numbers over and over as they read off a computer screen. The students were told not to press keys when the number three appeared on the screen. Then break time came, and in a 40-second window half of the group viewed a green roof, while the others looked out onto a bare concrete roof. Amazingly, the research showed that students who looked at the green view made fewer errors and had overall better concentration.
Dr. Lee hypothesizes that the green roof provided a ‘restorative experience’ which helped boost the mental resources of the students involved in the study. If true, that’s a major consideration. Lee believes that just a moment of looking at a green space could provide a moment of revitalization for workers who were struggling to concentrate. This brings up the day dreamers in our midst, always staring out the window to the outside, Lawns, trees etc. Helps some of us actually tolerate an environment were in better, but they do not know why. Now we do.
2) Orange: Mood Lifter
Think about the orange sun setting over the horizon. Nice, right? It’s true, orange can be a welcoming and mood-lifting color for all of us, which in turn promotes comfort and improves neural functioning.
Some theorists argue that an environment rich in the color orange increases the oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity while simultaneously loosening peoples’ inhibitions. An increased oxygen supply also leads to feeling invigorated and getting ready to ‘get things done.’ Some have even suggested that test centers be painted orange to stimulate exam-takers.
But this comes at a cost – avoid bolder orange colors if your children are young and naturally energetic. Or a teenager with hormones in over drive? This isn’t a good color for those prone to over stimulation ,for instance if your group of students have attention deficit hyperactive disorder or another health concern which leads to easy distraction you might want a soft green classroom with a little orange scattered in art work, or floor tiles. The tone of both those colors are vital also.
That’s not it on the science for orange, though – many studies have found that when colors are used to emphasize a feature or piece of content on the screen, childrens attention levels increase. Of course, the best colors for this are warm colors, like orange. So we can say that when you’re looking to highlight certain facts or important information, orange can be a better choice than the traditional red. But, because of its energy and brightness, orange can be an overwhelming choice. Orange is, in other words, best in small doses. Remember that green restaurant with the pecan pie? It probably has orange accents here and there, or in a pattern on the chair covers, window apparel, etc.
The secrets of orange were known in ancient China too – in Feng Shui, orange is seen as a “yang” color which stimulates focus and promotes organization . Of course, we need to remember that brightness and saturation also come into it, (also known as tone and tint) and too bright a color will probably give you a headache! Looking to the experts, color psychologist Angela Wright states that bright orange hues stimulate while low saturation is more soothing. So for boosting energy, go bold, and for relaxing, go mellow. Makes sense, huh?
So to close out orange as a color, it can be used to highlight key facts and figures, communicate energy, life, and activity. Orange is a vibrant color that demands attention, giving it an edge as a choice for highlighting. But again, use with caution! The same for yellow.
Some research suggests that people with highly intellectual work, which requires a high cognitive load, for instance, programmers or academics, are more productive in a blue environment. That said, though; we can’t keep life too monochromatic – it should be balanced with warmer colors. These can be found by using the opposite side of the color wheel. Certain blues illicit sleep, others require a fireplace to be lit.
Blue is best used for learning situations which are challenging. Blue paper, blue ink, or blue highlighting can be used to help improve reading comprehension too. Blue in general it seems is a relaxing and calming color, but lighter shades will seem more ‘friendly’ while darker ones seem a little more somber.
Back to the experts, many color psychologists recommend using blue colors, but adding a bit of extra kick with orange, especially for highlighting information (like we mentioned earlier!).
So in summary, blue is great for promoting high levels of thought, but too much can create a sense of detachment and coldness.
Color me convinced
Hopefully, by now you’re having a dramatic rethink of the color of your businesses, your house, and maybe even your car. That’s great – Remember, color is fundamental to the human experience. It’s a huge part of our lives and our perceptions, and we should leverage that in our day to day living. Meanwhile …….If you would like more info…you can find me right here. Follow me , more is to pop out soon