Happy #Valentine’s Day! How does the colour of what we wear affect our mood?

Much of my work as a #psychologist working with the #fashion industry is concerned with dealing with the industry’s problems so I was delighted to speak to @WhoWhatWearUK ‏ about clothing, mood and colour. Vision scientists and cognitive psychologists will explain that there is no theory of colour in psychology because the perception of colour is a complex outcome of many factors. It includes the obvious, such as lighting conditions, and also the less obvious, the viewer’s expectations and experience. Think back to ‘the dress’ when people were unable to agree if it was black and blue or white and gold. How can the same image be perceived so differently? Cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience have attempted to explain this phenomenon. Read more here as reported in @Independent and more in the excellent @ResearchDigest here.

The theory of colour in context (full text available below) was proposed by Meier and colleagues in 2012. This theory makes sense as how we see (perceive) colour depends on its neighbouring colours (as well as lighting conditions and the expectations and experience of the viewer).  As colour is influenced by so many factors, it cannot have a specific meaning. Nevertheless, colour can assume meaning through its social and cultural associations. I explained this in my interview with whowhatwearuk.co.co.uk. These associations can be powerful and can influence our mood, so next time you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, choose an outfit that lifts or calms your mood.

Check out the video that explains the optical illusion of the main image of this blog.

Read the Colour in Context paper