A blue mood may be more than just a figure of speech. Your mood may also affect how you perceive the world around you, according to a new study. A team of researchers has demonstrated that sadness could have an effect on the way we see colour.
The team, led by psychology researcher Christopher Thorstenson of the University of Rochester, found that people in whom they had induced a sad mood were less accurate in identifying colours on the blue-yellow axis, compared to people who weren’t feeling sad.
I have long been fascinated with color. Even when I was a girl, I read articles on colors and their possible meanings. Did you know in olden days, when a gentleman gave a sweetheart flowers, the color he chose had a meaning as to his intentions toward her? He had to choose his bouquet carefully!
When I saw this article on depression and color perception, I wondered about how many people seem to say that the sky seems bluer when they finally come out of their depression. This article seems to bear that out.
Personally, I have a distinct aversion to the color orange and it took me years and years to figure out why. Peach I could handle, but I yanked out orange Daylilies by the dozen when they started popping up in a place I’d moved to. I couldn’t stand Marigolds, either.
See, when I see a color, I don’t just “see” a color, I feel it. And when I’m feeling a strong emotion, I don’t just feel it, I also “see” it. I’m not synesthetic or anything like that, at least I don’t think so, but my emotions and colors seem to be almost interchangeable. I don’t see yellow when I look at yellow, I see joy. I mean, yes, I know when something is yellow, but it evokes a strong sense of joy in me. So, I see this picture of a yellow Sunflower on the blue background and I would tell you I saw joyful serenity. A subdued joy because of the brown, but joy nonetheless.
When I slipped in my kitchen a few years ago, it felt like one of those slow motion movies. I knew I was going down, that there was nothing I could do to stop it, and that my knee, my poor knee, was going to take yet another painful hit. I closed my eyes to brace myself and guess what I saw? Yep. Orange. Bright, glowing orange. I would have described it as hostile. As I cried out to my husband to help me up, I realized why I’d hated orange all my life. Orange is pain and fear!
Knowing that helps me appreciate Autumn all the more. I’ve always liked the cooler weather but I was ambivalent about the way the leaves changed color. I understood it was a beautiful thing but there was a part of me that felt the need to brace for it. I attributed that feeling to the cold that would follow, but now I realize what I was experiencing.
So while I will probably never buy orange clothing, I can put pictures of orange things on my blog background. I can even wear orange nail polish. Occasionally. On one or two nails. But still, progress! And I can plant Marigolds in my pots. I understand that I can control the orange and that just because it makes me feel pain and fear, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s real pain and fear. It’s just in my head, subjective, and not objective pain because I’ve been hurt. That helps me a lot.
In the meantime, bring on the yellow.
That’s my weird and I’m sticking to it. Surely you must have a weird too, I can’t be the only one! That would just be … weird.