Fascinating Facts About How Humans Perceive and React to Color

Unless you only shoot in monochrome, color likely plays a huge part in the experience of viewing your photographs. You may be aware of how you use them, but do you know how the colors in your images affect the people that look at them? PBS Off Book put out this fascinating video today that explores just how powerful colors are.

The description states,

Color is one of the fundamental elements of our existence, and defines our world in such deep ways that its effects are nearly imperceptible. It intersects the worlds of art, psychology, culture, and more, creating meaning and influencing behavior every step of the way. Most fascinating are the choices we make, both subconsciously and consciously, to use color to impact each other and reflect our internal states. Whether in the micro-sense with the choice of an article of clothing, or the macro-sense where cultures on the whole embrace color trends at the scale of decades, color is a signifier of our motives and deepest feelings.

YouTube fact-sharer Vsauce had a viral video recently that discussed an interesting aspect of color as well.

His “fact” was that the yellow you see when looking at a lemon in real life isn’t the same as the “yellow” you see when seeing a photo of that lemon on a computer monitor. Here’s the video (it’s discussed between 0:20 to 2:17. The rest of the video is just other random stuff):

So there you have it: facts about color that allow you to be better informed about how your photographs affect human brains.

  • Mark Meyer

    So, this isn’t really true. Lemons don’t actually absorb all wavelengths of light except yellow. If you take a spectrometer to a lemon you will see that it absorbs blue light, but reflects all the other colors from about 510nm – 725nm more or less equally. It reflects as much red as yellow and almost as much green. In that sense it’s actually a lot closer to a computer monitor’s yellow than you might think. The fact that different combinations of wavelengths can result in the same color is nothing new—they’re called metamers and are the basis of almost all color reproduction.

  • Oskar

    Please stop promoting this guy. He is not well informed and is misleading a lot a people. I really do not understand his purpose.

  • Oskar

    I mean the guy with the lemon.

  • patrick dinneen

    If blue makes people stop, relax and spend more time could one suggest make the surround of a webstie a light shade of blue?