Investigation of human's emotional responses on colors

Xiao Ping Gao, John Haozhong Xin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates human's emotional responses on colors based on a psychophysical experiment. Totally 218 color samples were evaluated by 70 subjects based on 12 basic descriptive variables including "warm - cool," "weak-strong," and "dynamic-passive." By using factor analysis, these 12 variables were split into two orthogonal factors (activity index and potency index) and one correlative factor (definition index), which may be used for description of color emotion. Based on these three indexes, a color emotion map in CIELCH color space was obtained by cluster analysis. A well-regulated distribution of human's emotion was observed in CIE L*C* plane with a neutral feeling region around the Point of chroma C*=30.5 and lightness L*=53.3. Colors scattered at opposite direction of this neutral region possess the opposite feelings. The detailed relationship between color emotion indexes and color perception attributes, i.e., hue, lightness, and chroma, were further studied by correlation analysis and graphical representation. The results indicated that the activity index was dependent on chroma, the potency index was dependent on lightness, and the definition index was dependent on both chroma and lightness. It was also observed that the influence of hue on emotional response was not as significant as those in previous studies even for the variable "warm - cool."
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-417
Number of pages7
JournalColor Research and Application
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006


  • Color emotion
  • Color perception
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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