The Taubmans Colour Emotion Study uses virtual reality to assess…
by Samuel Festa • 5 min read
The Taubmans Colour Emotion Study uses virtual reality to assess the impact of colour on a range of emotions, the preliminary results of which reveal the top colours that cause a range of emotions within
several real-life environments. In partnership with leading Australian virtual reality company Liminal VR, a team of psychologists and neuroscientists conducted the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study, the largest of its kind to date, in consultation with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, the Southern Hemisphere’s leading brain research facility.
Taubmans’ Tim Welsh explains, “We all instinctively know that the colours in our homes affect our moods. Now, Taubmans has research that scientifically proves that painting your walls in different colours can bring out a whole range of emotions.”
A robust sample of 745 participants used the latest VR headsets to create three-dimensional immersive experiences to best capture emotional responses to a range of Taubmans colours in living rooms, waiting rooms and blank space environments, informing use of colour in both residential and commercial applications.
For the study, each participant was given a Google Daydream virtual reality headset and controller where they submitted their responses when shown each of the Taubmans colours profiled. Segmented into eight groups, each participant within the group was exposed to five Taubmans colours across three room types. Between the groups, 40 Taubmans colours were displayed on both the walls and ceiling, with the living room being furnished to give context.
Candidates were required to rate each colour by indicating how they felt selecting one of eight options ranging from excited and cheerful to irritated or tense. Participants were also asked to indicate how much they liked the colour on a five-poi
nt scale varying between “extremely” to “not at all.”
Tim continues to explain: “The right colours will make you feel relaxed and calm, or cheerful and excited, yet pick the wrong colour scheme, and your walls risk making you feel bored, sad, tense and, worst of all, irritated. We plan to use the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study to help our customers pick the right Taubmans colours to enhance Australian homes, lifestyles and moods.”
Which colours promote relaxation in the living room?
As the place where we spend time with our families, clients often want living rooms to have relaxed or calm atmospheres. It’s no surprise that softer pastel tones are universally seen to foster these emotions, especially given our coastally skewed population.
Within the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study, over 41% of participants voted “Seagull,” a soft grey-green colour, the most relaxing, closely followed by “Faded Lilac” and “Padre Blue.”
Meanwhile, 38% of participants chose the gentle eggshell tone, “Morning Fog,” as the most calming shade with “Dawn Break” and “Candy Cream” tracking in second and third place respectively.
Which shades provide energy?
Yellows, oranges and the occasional pinks were proved to be the most likely to make us feel excited and cheerful.
Sunny yellow shades came high in the results for the most cheerful, with “Japanese Koi,” “Rocket Launch” and “Florida” hitting the top three spots.
When it comes to the most exciting colours, participants were found to sway further towards more daring tones like “In The Pink” or a rich orange such as “Orange Embers.”
Although beware, as these same shades can be polarizing and risk making some people feel tense and irritated. To ensure users get the best out of these tones use these colours sparingly, and consider smaller spaces, painted shapes or feature walls as well as looking beyond the living room.
What about the trend for dark walls such as charcoal? How do they affect mood?
Taubmans has also seen a trend towards darker colours, and they are definitely a bold choice, as they can make certain people feel a little sad. Having said that, getting dark colours right can surprise and delight. For example, Taubmans 2018 Colour of the Year, “Black Flame,” was voted in the top ten colours liked overall of the 40 Taubmans paint colours tested.
As a top tip, use darker colours like “Black Flame” to create a moody, cocooning space. Using darker colours can make a room appear smaller, so make sure this is taken into consideration. By using “Black Flame” in the bedroom, it would create a great space with a secure feeling. Alternatively use these darker trending colours on doors or again a feature wall and painted shapes. An entrance, a powder room or bathroom are also ideal spaces for implementing a dark feature colour. These are spaces you don’t spend a lot of time in but can create a striking impact without having to be surrounded by it for long periods of time.
Immersive virtual reality research
Much has been said about the emotional impact that colours can have, a quick Google of the terms “colour” and “emotion” will return over 7 million results. Most studies to date have involved small samples of people being presented with coloured cards or colours displayed on a computer screen in a lab or office. Virtual reality is a game changer in the field of emotional research, taking people away from their physical environments and completely immersing them in 3D, photo-real, virtual environments. This allows examination not only of how different colours make us feel, but how the environment we’re in changes our emotional reaction to colour.
Commenting on the experience, Damian Moratti, CEO of Liminal VR said, “It was amazing working on the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study – nothing of this scale and scope had ever been attempted before. Taubmans gave us complete freedom and command over the methodology with absolutely no control over the outcome. Luckily, the data returned some fantastic results, showing that people were genuinely emotionally affected by many of the colours in the Taubmans range, and different environments had a huge influence on our emotional responses to colour.”
How does the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study help science?
Professor Julie Bernhardt continues to explain the scientific side to the research by describing her thoughts on how colours affect our emotions on a neurological level as well as highlighting how important this research is for science moving forward.
Colour is important. Yet how we perceive colour and attribute meaning to it can vary between individuals and between cultures. Until now, we understood little about how we perceive colour and which ones the brain processes easier. There are many assumptions about how different colours effect our mood, however very few of these are underpinned by strong science.
“The issue of colour is particularly important in public spaces and as a neuroscientist, the challenge is studying colour within contextual environments. By using VR in the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study, we were able to create environments that our brains find ‘real’ which is more convincing than static pictures. By presenting the same colours in 3 separate environments, we can unpack overall colour preference and the difference in emotional responses according to each room type. By using VR, we could also repeat this experiment in a large sample of participants which provided more robust findings.”
Julie concludes with “Partnerships between science and industries such as Taubmans paints and Liminal VR are exciting and show that together we can do more to discover knowledge that can help us make evidence-informed decisions about colour in a multitude of settings.”
Article by selector.com & the courier.com.au