Design & Emotion Blog

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Using colour to affect emotions

Today, Trevor van Gorp posted a nice piece on his website, about how the colour of jail cells can affect inmates’ emotions. The original article was by CourtTV. The painted jail cells are supposed to calm down inmates and create an overall more positive environment. I am wondering, would it help to have inmates paint their own cells in the colour they like? Just like we feel more comfortable in our own decorated houses, perhaps it could also work this way in jail cells.
This article reminded me of when I met Georg Rakers of Philips Design in 2004. We talked about their efforts to use color schemes to affect patients’ emotions during medical investigations. Their ambient experience research is very interesting, especially for medical purposes (like making children that have to be examined feel more comfortable), but also their application of it at home with the ambient light TV is impressive.

It is very interesting to look at colour in emotion research, and perhaps even more so in emotion design research. I haven’t read much about it yet, but I think I should. This reminds me, I do have this book on colour psychology in my book closet. Will have a better look at it soon.

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