As a child I was not a particular fan of pink, but now in adulthood and as an artist, it’s difficult to ignore the effect that the color holds over it’s viewers. Researchers have investigated how color can affect us in a powerful way.
“In 1979, psychologist Alexander Schauss published research in which 153 healthy young men were shown two 2-by-3 foot pieces of cardboard, one a deep blue, the other a pink resembling the shade of Pepto Bismol. The men were asked to stare at one piece of cardboard, then they underwent simple muscle testing. The process was repeated with the other piece of cardboard. All but two of the men tested significantly weaker when they had stared at the pink cardboard (Schauss, 1979, 1985; Alter, 2012). In a second experiment, using a dynamometer, Schauss showed 38 men the same colors of cardboard. All of them tested significantly weaker after staring at the pink cardboard (Schauss, 1979, 1985).
This same color pink was later used in a U.S. Navy detention center in Seattle by Chief Warrant Officer Gene Baker and Captain Ron Miller, who saw angry prisoners become calm after only 15 minutes in a pink detention cell. This color, which became known as Baker-Miller pink, was used with similar effects in a youth detention center in San Bernardino, California, and with psychiatric patients in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center. County jails began using pink cells to pacify aggressive prisoners, observing how violent felons and angry drunks became calm after being exposed to the color pink (Schauss, 1979, 1985; Alter, 2012). Since then, there have been several experiments with mixed results,” (Psychology Today, Dhrerer, 2018).
I’m wondering if the color itself initiates feelings of weakness and calm, or if in fact the color that triggers the viewer’s ideas of femininity and thus outdated ideas about females as weak. In this theory viewers take on more of the traits they deem feminine when looking at the color pink, which can be a complex and layered experience, depending on one’s own personal history with the color. Many including Procter & Gamble spokesman Jim Schwartz, insist that the bright, cherry color reduces fear.
How does the color pink affect you?