Sure, for the most part, we all know what it is like to see in color but just how is color affecting us? Sure, people talk about the sensations they get in regards to different colors but are these sensations real?
Well, to be honest, there are lots of non-visual effects in regards to color. There is actually quite an established physiological mechanism that through which color and light can even affect things like our alertness, mood, and heart rate. This is through the retinal cells that form these non-image forming pathways between our eyes and the hypothalamus. For those who do not know the hypothalamus is a very important part of our brain that is responsible for secretion of some of the hormones that control aspects of our bodies regulation of hunger, temperature, and so forth.
There has been data published that shows exposure to bright short-wavelengths light a couple of hours before normal bedtime can increase alertness and literally affect a person’s sleep quality. This is very important research when you consider that poor sleep quality is increasingly becoming a problem these days. In case you weren’t already aware poor sleep quality has actually been linked to things like heart disease and diabetes.
There are currently quite a few studies underway that are exploring the effects of color on humans. To make this even more interesting back in 2009 blue lights were added to the end of platforms at Tokyo’s Yamanote railway in order to prevent or reduce the number of suicides happening there and these lights proved to be successful. Suicides fell by 74 percent where these lights had been installed.
The University of Leeds actually has a marvelous research group who are spending a lot of their time working on a lighting laboratory that is designed to evaluate the effects of light on human behavior and I cannot wait to see just what they find. For more information on how color affects us check out the video below. What do you think about all of this?