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J Exp Psychol Gen. 1994 Dec;123(4):394-409.

Effects of color on emotions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles.


Emotional reactions to color hue, saturation, and brightness (Munsell color system and color chips) were investigated using the Pleasure-Arousal-Dominance emotion model. Saturation (S) and brightness (B) evidenced strong and consistent effects on emotions. Regression equations for standardized variables were; Pleasure = .69B + .22S, Arousal = -.31B + .60S, Dominance = -.76B + .32S. Brightness effects were nearly the same for chromatic and achromatic colors. Blue, blue-green, green, red-purple, purple, and purple-blue were the most pleasant hues, whereas yellow and green-yellow were the least pleasant. Green-yellow, blue-green, and green were the most arousing, whereas purple-blue and yellow-red were the least arousing. Green-yellow induced greater dominance than red-purple.

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