10 Color Facts That Might Surprise You

Colors make up our visual landscape and influence our lives in both overt and subtle ways. However, there is much that is mysterious and surprising about colors.

For example:

1. In One Sense, Colors Do Not Exist

Colors are actually wavelengths that require a receiver or interpreter to make sense of them. Without eyes and a brain, what we call color would just be light frequencies.

2. Pink is Soothing

While cooler colors like green and blue are most often associated with having a soothing, sedating effect, pink is also relaxing to be around. It isn’t just for babies’ rooms, either; even some prisons are being painted in shades of pink to help keep prisoners subdued.

3. Chickens Chill Out to Red

Unlike humans, chickens respond in a more subdued manner to pink’s darker cousin, red. (Red can actually be agitating to humans.) Red light in a chicken coop helps to soothe and calm them, assists them in sleeping better and generally makes them less aggressive. Red is also the very first color that human babies are able to distinguish; this is possibly because it has the longest wavelength in the color spectrum.

4. Both People and Mosquitoes Love Blue 

Worldwide, the color blue consistently comes up as favorite when people are asked their favorite color. Up to 40 percent of those polled choose blue as best, with those loving purple at around 14 percent. Strangely enough, blue is actually favored by mosquitoes as well; they tend to try to bite persons wearing blue more than any other color.

5. There’s Such a Thing as a Color Phobia

While Chromophobia is very rare, it pertains to an irrational fear of colors. Any tone or shade can potentially cause a reaction, possibly because the sufferer has linked it with a bad memory or association. Those with Chromophobia can experience anxiety, light headedness, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, feelings of panic, trembling and elevated heart rate. Treatment often involves gradual desensitization therapies.

6. You Can Stay Safer with White

Studies of insurance data has shown that white cars are the least likely to be involved in auto accidents. While not a very popular car color at this time, choosing it could make your driving life safer.

7. Men and Women Perceive Color Differently

Researchers from the Tempe, Arizona State University have located the gene for seeing the color red, and have determined that it comes in a variety of variations. It is located on the X chromosome, which women have two of (men have just one.) Researchers believe this allows women to see more nuances of color, while men lump all variations of a color into one name like, “red,” “blue,” etc. Perhaps as compensation, nature gave men a stronger ability to perceive motion.

8. Bright Colors Can Improve Your Social Life

We live in a very visual culture and it is estimated that the color of the clothes we wear can influence first impressions by up to 90 percent. Colors send a message, and bright, festive colors tend to send a more gregarious message than dark or drab tones.

9. Colors Influence Depth Perception

Cool colors recede visually while warm tones appear closer, even if they are painted on the same flat plane. This technique can be used by artists to create convincing scenery in paintings and murals. It can also be used in interior design to make the walls of rooms appear to either come forward or recede.

10. Colors Affect Taste and Appetite

The color of dish a food is served in affects the taste of the food. For example, people report that chocolate tastes best when served in a cream or orange colored cup or dish. Warm colors generally are more appetite-stimulating, making yellow, orange and red popular in restaurant logos.

As pervasive as colors are, there is much that is mysterious and fascinating about them. Have fun impressing your friends with these 10 color facts.

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