Teenagers' Mood improved by Coloured Lights

Balta, Andra, Read, Janet C orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7138-1643 and Ionescu, Dan-Adrian (2015) Teenagers' Mood improved by Coloured Lights. In: ICAR (International Conference on Architectural Research)., 26-29 March 2015, Bucharest.

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Official URL: https://icar2015.uauim.ro/dld/cd/ICAR2015_Section_...


It is already known that colours have positive or negative effects on peoples’ moods. People have different opinions regarding the same colour in a room [5]. For example, pinkish rooms were described in some studies as being “warm, gentle and stimulating; childish, young, fresh and funny”, while others have described these same colours as “pushy, demanding and glaring; stale, tasteless, vulgar and slovenly.” Contrary to pinkish rooms, greenish rooms were perceived as relaxing, calm, retreat rooms, which evoked connotations of nature. Spath [6] found that colours can influence mental and physical activity. According to Harrington [4] not all reds stimulate the same emotional response. He states there are four negative emotions (aggression, anger, rage, and terror) linked with dark yellow-reds, and five positive emotions (amazement, ecstasy, joy, love, and passion) associated with light blue-reds. According to Je [7] there are differences and similarities regarding colour preferences between Korean and Canadian students: students from both countries like red, blue, neutral colours and dislike yellow but there were different preferences regarding red-blue hues, red hues, grey hues and white hues [7]. There is no research to date with regard to the affect coloured light has on teenagers’ mood. This paper presents the findings of a coloured light study in living environments seeking to understand how different coloured lights might affect teenagers’ moods. Twenty-three British teenagers, aged 13-14 years old, male and female, participated in the ‘Coloured Lights in my Bedroom’ study which was held in a room with no windows so that the artificial lighting would not mix with natural lighting. Only 22 properly completed the questionnaire. One of them did not scale every emotion maybe because he did not know the meaning of the words.
In the study, participants were instructed to complete the PANAS Questionnaire (a mood scale which measures both positive and negative affect) under eight different coloured lights:: red, light-green, green, light-blue, blue, pink, yellow, and white. Results show overall positive average results indicating that the participants have only experienced positive moods under each different colour. Light-green had the most positive effects on teenagers’ mood followed by blue, light-blue, red,
yellow, green, with pink and white being equal.
Our results contradict some studies and agree with others. The dark red light from this study created positive moods compared with the dark red colour from Harrington’s [4] study which was associated with negative emotions. However, the
reds from Harrington’s [4] study are not red lights as used in the present study, therefore, the colour perception of reds might be different when comparing the two studies. According to Lee [12], red light is perceived as uncomfortable, but our results indicate otherwise with red light affecting in a positive way teenagers’ mood. Research shows yellow light is the most pleasant and comfortable colour lighting, perceived as elegant [12]. Our study shows light-green light has the most positive effect upon teenagers’ mood, yellow light being one of the last choices regarding the positive scale.
The study has thrown up many questions, especially about the possibility to map findings from studies of colour affect onto studies of coloured light affect. It is possible that the addition of lighting in the colour has a significant effect on the way the colour ‘feels’ to the participants. Future work is exploring this by asking teenagers to comment on printed colours in a large questionnaire study which asks about predicted affect of coloured walls and ceilings in teenage bedrooms.

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