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5th International Color and Coatings Congress (ICCC 2013) December 18-19,

2013 IsfahanIran

A Study of colour emotion for two colour combinations


Samaneh Dashti*, Hossein Izadan, Forough Mahyar
*Department of Textile Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran, 84156-83111.

Department of Textile Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran, 84156-83111.


izadan@cc.iut.ac.ir

Colour Imaging & Color image processing group, Institute of color and coating, Tehran, Iran, 16765-654

Abstract
Colour is often claimed to be the most emotional appearance factor of a product and as a results many
researches have been conducted to obtain the relationship between colour and emotion. To do this, a
psychophysical experiment was carried out to investigate colour emotion for two-colour combination. Five
colour emotional scales consist of warm-cool, heavy-light, active-passive, like-dislike and harmoniousdisharmonious were investigated for 190 colour pairs and 51 Iranian observers. Calculated correlation
coefficients of so called scales show that there is no gender, culture, nationality, environment, educational
background and age effect on the three colour emotional scales, namely, warm-cool, heavy-light and activepassive, which Li Chen Ous colour emotional space is based on. However, according to the result of this
research apart from the gender, the aforementioned factors affect the responses of the observers to the likedislike scale which means colour preference is likely to be affected by these factors.

Introduction
Colours are always seen in combination and it is claimed that seeing a single colour is virtually impossible
[1]. Even in a very controlled environment of a psychophysical experiment, a single colour is often observed
on a mid grey background (L * = 50). As the colour of a sample is affected by the colour of neighbourhood
samples [1], it is likely that the colour emotion which imposed by that sample is affected by any
neighbouring colour [1]. Cupchik considered reactive and reflective levels for emotional responses [1].Ou Li
stated that the reactive level describes the emotional responses to the configurations of features in visual
arts and the reflective level describes how emotional responses contribute to the contextual meaning in
multilevel arts and literary work [2 ]. In the reflective level, emotion is affected by the application of the
stimuli [2].

Method
In this experiment, each colour pair displays on a uniform mid grey background in a random sequence on a
CRT monitor situated in a darkened room. 51 observers with normal colour vision who passed the Ishihara
visual test, aged between 20 and 47, originally come from different cities in Iran, attended in the
psychophysical experiment. A total of 190 colour pairs, which were defined on the basis of the twenty
applied colour samples in the Li Chen Ous researches, were examined by each observer. All colour pairs
were assessed on 5 colour emotional scales, namely, warm-cool, heavy-light, active-passive, like-dislike and
harmonious-disharmonious. Table 1 summarized the variation in the observers groups.
Table 1: the number of observers taking part in the present study in each group
Culture female male designer non designer young old
Yazd
16
9
11
14
19
7
Isfahan
6
6
0
12
12
0
Others
8
6
0
14
13
0
Results and discussion
The z-score values of the experimental data were calculated. There was no significant impact of the
variations of the gender on all examined colour emotional scales. The obtained correlation coefficient values
between the colour emotional responses show that different culture have no significant effects on all
investigated colour emotional scales except like-dislike one. The CIELAB values of each colour pairs and
the relevant like-dislike emotional responses were compared. Figure1 illustrates that the higher mean values
of lightness gain the high scores of th observers for the appropriate colour pairs. In fact, the Iranian students
tended to like colour pairs with higher mean values of lightness.

5th International Color and Coatings Congress (ICCC 2013) December 18-19,
2013 IsfahanIran

Figure 1: like-dislike responses to colour pairs against mean values of lightnesses.


To examine the effect of formal training in design on the observers responses to the emotions emposed by
colours, the colour emotional responses were divided into two groups of observers with design background
and no design background. The result show that there is not a good agreement between the two educational
background groups, whitch means that educational background affects on colour emotion. To investigate the
age impact on the colour emotional responses, all observations were divided into two age groups of young
group, aged between 20 and 29 years old and old group, aged between 30 and 47 years old. The results show
a good agreement between the two age groups for all colour emotional scales except like-dislike and
harmonious-disharmonious ones. The correlation coefficient values of like-dislike (0.61) and harmoniousdisharmonious (0.69) are the lowest among the five scales. This suggests that like-dislike and harmoniousdisharmonious emotional responses may have been influenced by the variations of the age. The like-dislike
responses given by the young group were subtracted from those by the old group, which called score
difference. The score difference values were compared with various CIELAB values for each colour pair.
The results show some trends in the score difference values regarding to the mean values of the chroma,
lightness and difference values of lightnesses. Figure2 (a) and Figure2 (b) illustrat that when the mean values
of the chroma and lightness increase, the score difference values are higher than the other values.This
suggests that old observers tend to like colours with low chroma and low lightness values in comparison to
the young observers. Figure2 (c) suggests that old observers in comparison to the young ones tend to like
colour pairs with the same lightness values.

0-45

45-55

55-65

65-75

>75

0-10

10-20

20-30

30-40

>40

Figure 2: the difference values of the like-dislike responses between the young and the old groups against (a)
mean values of the chroma (b) mean values of the lightness and (c) the difference values of lightnesses.

Conclusions
Five colour emotional scales, namely, warm-cool, heavy-light, active-passive, like-dislike and
harmonious-disharmonious, were investigated in the present study. According to the
obtained results, the gender and culture variations have no significant impact on the
examined colour emotional responses. However, the like- dislike emotional responses
are influenced by the culture differences. There is also no major impact of the age
variations in different colour emotional scales except the like-dislike and harmoniousdisharmonious ones. The results show a good agreement with the results in the Li Chen
Ous research.
Acknowledgements
The authors thank all observers who took part in the psychophysical experiment of this study.
References
[1] C. Ka-Man, "Quqntitive Evaluation of Colour Emotion," A Thesis Presented for the Degree of Doctor of
Philosophy, 2002.
[2] L. C. Ou, "Quantification of Colour Emotion and Colour Harmony," 2004.

5th International Color and Coatings Congress (ICCC 2013) December 18-19,
2013 IsfahanIran

[3] L. C. Ou, Luo, M. R., Sun, P. L., Hu, N. C., Chen, H. S., Guan, S. S., Woodcock, A., Caivano, J. L.,
Huertas, R., Tremeau, A., Billger, M., Izadan, H., Richter, K, "A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Colour
Emotion for Two-Colour Combinations," Col. Res. Appl., 2012, Wiley, 37.