Why people are attracted to the color green

Updated May 2, 2017

high-grass-woman-walkingIf you look at infographics on marketing tactics or creating a logo, some like to include the psychology of color and what response each shade evokes.

Most of the time a person’s reaction to the color of an object is unconscious, but when you stop to think about why you feel a certain way about a brand or a product, the color itself can affect your perspective. Color preference can also drive your selection between identical products.

In an effort to understand color preference and determine a rational explanation as to why color can play such an important role in our lives, scientists have conducted studies to see if humans prefer colors that are healthy and promote survival.

This is based off of biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, who said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

It was proposed that people would naturally be drawn toward bright reds or oranges which are reminiscent of ripe fruit, or blues that indicated clean water, while they would avoid colors that tended to signal sickliness like brown or drab yellows.

Psychologists Stephen Palmer and Karen Schloss with UC Berkley put this hypothesis to the test by asking a group of students to rate 32 colors by how much they liked them. Bright reds, blues and greens ranked the highest among the volunteers while drab colors like brown were less preferred.

After ranking the colors, the participants wrote down objects they associated with the certain color. Another group looked at these object descriptions and rated how appealing they were. Once this data was collected, a new group of observers was provided the object descriptions along with the color and was asked to rate the match between the color and object.

It was found that color preference comes from an individual’s preference for the objects that typically are that color. The preference is then reinforced throughout the person’s life as they experience different positive feedback associated with that object and color.

So the reason why people are drawn to the color green has several different factors. On the biological side of things, green objects represent life itself. Without chlorophyll, plants wouldn’t be able to complete photosynthesis, meaning there would be no oxygen and no food.

This deep-rooted affinity toward green can be a nod to humans’ dependence toward plant life, but as the Berkley study shows it is not merely survival that drives color preference. The constant positive feedback also increase the attraction. When a person is in the presence of greenery, their muscles relax, the pituitary gland is stimulated and overall the person is calmed and reinvigorated all at the same time.

The more positive interactions people experience in green spaces the more they are drawn to them.

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