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J Physiol Anthropol. 2007 May;26(3):373-9.

Effects of object color stimuli on human brain activities in perception and attention referred to EEG alpha band response.

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Graduate School of Science and Technology, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.


This study was designed to investigate the physiological effects of color in terms of blood pressure and the results of electroencephalogram (EEG) as subjects looked at the sheets of paper of various colors. A questionnaire was also used to assess psychological effects. Three colors (red, green, blue) were shown to each subject in randomized order. The various colors showed distinctly different effects on the mean power of the alpha band, theta band, and on the total power in the theta-beta EEG bandwidth and alpha attenuation coefficient (AAC). Scores of the subjective evaluations concerning heavy, excited, and warm feelings also indicated significant differences between red and blue conditions. Against to our prediction, blue elicited stronger arousal than did red as expressed by the results of AAC and the mean power of the alpha band, which conflicted with the results of the subjective evaluations scores. This phenomenon might be caused by bluish light's biological activating effect. The powers of the alpha band, and the theta band, and the total power of the theta-beta bandwidth as measured by EEG showed larger values while the subjects looked at red paper than while they looked at blue paper. This indicated that red possibly elicited an anxiety state and therefore caused a higher level of brain activity in the areas of perception and attention than did the color blue. Red paper's effect to activate the central cortical region with regard to perception and attention was considerably more distinguishable than was the biological activating effect of bluish light in our study.

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