Colors are the most important communication system in nature, but they also shape people’s everyday lives and culture. Wuppertal researcher Axel Buether is investigating how colors control our behavior and influence our well-being.

For the Chairman of the German Color Center, colors – biologically speaking – are a product of evolution with vital functions for nature and mankind. Humans had the non-verbal possibilities of a color language long before they found their way to the language of words. However, most people still only process the messages of colors in their surroundings unconsciously. The sensory stimuli that trigger colors when perceived by the human eye are given an “emotional coloring” when processed in the brain. This explains why colors have such an enormous influence on us, why a bright red might make us aggressive, while a soft green relaxes us.

The knowledge of the effect of colors opens up far-reaching possibilities – from the “healing” effect in the sick room to the soothing design of the new “home office” to the messages that colors send out in individual clothing styles. In view of the rather dreary season we are facing, Axel Buether’s urgent advice is: “Have the courage to use color.”

Editor: Gundi Große

Book tip:
Axel Buether: The mysterious power of colors. How colors influence our behavior and feelings. Published by Droemer Knaur. 2020. 320 pages. 25 euros.

Link to the WDR media library “Power of colors”

Link to the contribution of the program WDR5 Curiosity is enough – Speaking time “Power of colors”

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