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Psychology of Colour

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18th-May-2018       
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Md Sadat Hussain Rafsanjani :
The year was 1665. A student from Trinity College, London graduated without any distinction. Although he was an unexceptional student in his class but this man wanted to be a scientist. As the great plague stroke the whole city, the authorities were forced to shut down the campus for an unknown period of time. The man went back to his home in Yorkshire and devoted himself to study for few years. He carried out unconventional experiments like pressing a hair bodkin against his eye ball to see the change of colour received by colour sensors in his eyes. Over the next few years this man not only discovered many scientific theories and inventions, these years were the most productive period of times in the history of mankind. This man was Sir Isaac Newton, who fathered theory of optics.
Newton first proved that the sun ray is a mixture of seven colours of different wavelength using prism. We see a particular object when light casts upon it and reflected back to our eyes. For example, an apple absorbs all the colours but red thus we see it red. In fact, we should call it anti-red as only red colour is reflected back.
Words for colour appear in same order in all cultures. Cultures who have only two colours, black be their first and white second. Then there comes red always, yellow comes in fourth place, green fifth and blue the sixth. A tribe called Himba from Namibia has only four or five words available for colour depiction.
Colour plays an important role in the context of food and taste. We taste with our eyes long before we taste with our mouths. In an experiment, four bowls of distinguished colour jelly were kept. The colours were red, yellow, green and blue. Every jelly was tasteless and when a blindfolded person was asked tasting them one by one they could not able to differentiate which colour jelly they experienced. Now, the persons again tasted the jelly in the bowls with their eyes open. This time they said the red jelly appears like red apple, the yellow jelly tastes like lemon, the green one tasted like green apple and blue jelly tasted like coconut, least tasty among them. Dark colour reminds us of rotten or spoilt food thus our appetite naturally declines if we are exposed to them.
In the similar fashion, when something looks too pure, we tend to avoid them. Crystal Pepsi was a flavored soft drink lacking caffeine which was introduced in early 1990s by PepsiCo. But because of its clear look like water, people panned it and the product lived short. There are also good examples how food colour affects our sentiment. Renowned Heinz Company marketed new green coloured tomato ketchup called Heinz EZ Squirt Blasting Green Ketchup. Although the product was new, the company saw a sale of ten plus million in the history of the organization. What went right? Researchers rushed to the conclusion that the colour of the sauce and the context were congruent. The ketchup colour had convergence with green tomatoes and the product was itself co-branded with a popular movie character, Shrek, a green ogre who lives on green foods. Kids loved this relation and jumped at the ketchup with great zeal. But before finding out the real cause of the hit ketchup, Heinz marketed other colours of products, notably purple, pink, orange, teal and blue. All of them failed because of their in congruency. Specially, purple and blue were the least sold product for the sake of unappealing eating context.
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