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Colour coding humans

From when a child opens his eyes and sees the world, right until when he’s covered in a shroud, colour surrounds him. Colour plays an important role not only in the development of one’s psychology, but also in the way one perceives their surroundings and understands those around them. Colour is responsible for changing moods, raising amusement and comforting feelings of melancholy. Colour psychology is a field of study that focuses on how colour affects a person’s mindset and behaviour. It studies the influence of colour on human emotion and thoughts and also looks into the factors like culture and age and if they lead to any change in the understanding of colour in human eyes. Colour psychology involves various subjects concerning the meaning of colours and how they impact human behaviour and mental health. Various things must be kept in mind to utilise colour psychology to promote well-being including the factors that impact colour preferences and the emotional and physiological responses to different colours.

While there are no clear, universal reactions to colour, several generalisations have been drawn. Colours on the red end of the spectrum are regarded as "warm," while those on the blue end are considered "cool." Warm colours are perceived to be more exciting than cool colours, which are in turn, considered to be relaxing. Colours may arouse a wide range of feelings, from comfort and warmth to hatred and wrath. Softer colours like sky blue are more pleasant than navy blue. AndEven while red is a stimulating colour, pink, which is a mild shade of red, may be comforting.

Psychology of Pink

The colour pink is composed of the colours red, blue, and white, from which it derives some of its qualities. Red represents passion and vitality, whereas blue and white represent calm and quiet. While desire and lust are associated with red, pink is more gentle and affectionate. One 2020 study that evaluated the emotional associations of 4,598 individuals from 30 different nations, discovered that 50% of the participants usually connected pink with romance and love, indicating that it has a more sensitive side.

Pink is readily linked with the female gender and femininity in Western culture. It is related to love, care, tenderness, and tolerance, values typically assigned to the female sex. From birth, pink is allotted to girlsfemales, whereas blue is assigned to boys. We have grown to associate colour with femininity and its related gender stereotypes: frailty, timidity, and tranquillity.

However, the misogynistic undertones behind the colour pink reveal themselves when one looks into the history of these associations being made. Pink did not always denote femininity, rather, pink only became the default shade for all things “girlie” after WWII, when Nazis made homosexual men put on a pink badge to identify themselves. Pink has since become looked upon as a non-masculine colour designated for girls.

Prisoners in Pink

When pink became linked with femininity, some questioned if it might be employed to "tame" aggressive male behaviour. Baker-Miller Pink, also known as Drunk Tank Pink, is a bright pink similar to the colour of Pepto-Bismol. Alexander Schauss, head of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, linked it to calming characteristics in the late 1970s. The colour claims to decrease aggressive, hostile or violent tendencies. Prisons in the United States and Switzerland began using this hue of pink to soothe inmates. The colour claims to decrease aggressive, hostile or violent tendencies.

In the 1970s, Alexander Schauss' study questioned not only whether colours might reflect hormonal changes, but also if colours could cause hormonal changes. He performed a preliminary strength test on 153 men, measuring their capacity to endure the experimenter's pressure for as long as possible while staring at either a deep blue or a bright pink cardboard. Except for two men, all of the others who received a pink card fared worse than the average. The findings of Schauss' initial investigation were never fully duplicated. Follow-up research has produced contradictory outcomes. Moreover, despite a plethora of anecdotal evidence, the non-drug tranquillisers effect has never been proved to endure longer than 15-30 minutes.

Pacify or Provoke?

Further studies after Schauss claimed to have found no evidence of a relationship between visual processing and physiological responses in exposure to Baker Miller Pink and instead discovered cultural links in such reactions. They confirmed that the loss of strength was not caused by biological factors, instead, it was the culturally built meanings underlying colours that were strong enough to elicit a bodily reaction, one that is so quick that it may appear natural. The paint did not make males weaker, but "being placed in a pink detention cell... attack[ed] the inmates perceived manhood and/or cause feelings of humiliation." Pink's relation with femininity is so embedded in the male mind that it shames them to see it — because they perceive masculinity as powerful and femininity as weak.

Baker Miller Pink has also been dubbed as the “most manipulative colour” in all of colour theory. Basically, Schauss’ studies on Baker Miller Pink claimed to calm people, lowering anxiety and hostility, which led to a variety of practical applications for the colour. People began painting mental health facilities baker miller pink, even going so far as to paint collegiate football locker rooms pink in order to calm the athletes down. But Schuass, who was conducting all of this Baker Miller Pink research, left out a crucial detail: yes, for the first fifteen minutes after being exposed to Baker Miller Pink, one does calm down and experience a very tranquil effect, but once the body reaches equilibrium, it actually reacts negatively to the colour, and the individual becomes more anxious and aggressive than before the exposure, completely negating the initial purpose of Baker Miller Pink. Despite the tens of thousands of pink coloured jail cells and locker rooms, we still do not know whether Baker Miller Pink is a legitimate scientific phenomenon or just a quirky social construct brought on by the human impulse to find quick fixes to troubling issues.

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