Your favorite color often governs your choices in life but did you know there is more to color than what meets the eye? The ‘colorful’ history and rich origins of this natural phenomenon are deep-rooted in science and culture. Despite the integral role of color in our daily life, we know far too little about it.
Bet you didn’t know that the sun isn’t yellow, and horses are technically blind. Here we have compiled even more mind-blowing facts that will change everything you thought you knew about colors.
1. Colors Can Trigger Deep Childhood Memories
Colors have been scientifically proven to be connected to memories. This is because humans make memories through association. Notice how particular color triggers specific events or objects or even evokes emotions. For instance, the smell of cookies invokes Christmas mornings at your grandparents’ house.
The same thing happens in the case of colors, where certain colors bring up childhood memories and re-live nostalgic experiences.
2. Artists Were Limited In Their Color Options Until Recently
With museums filled with mesmerizing paintings and uncanny portraits, one would think that the artists of those eras had access to various dyes. However, most artists had to rely on shady colormen who provided unstable mixes where the color would fade away or react with other colors.
Fortunately, now there is a huge collection of colors available, and you can check out this list with unique colors, which is a haven for any artist.
3. The Significance of Blue
The inclusion of blue into the broad color palette of the ancient world was slow. Ancient cave paintings are colored red, black, and brown. Even after the inclusion of the color, it was not available to the working class, while the wealthier preferred white, red, and black. Blue was used to identify barbarians and frighten enemies. The Romans and Greeks didn’t even have a word for the color blue.
However, the negative impression of the color changed due to biblical significance. Around the 12th century, blue was used as the Virgin Mary’s cloak color. With the spread of Christianity worldwide, color became associated with reverence and respect.
The popularity of blue has soared to become the favorite color of the US, with 42% of men and 29% of women citing it as their favorite, according to a study by the University of Maryland.
Unfortunately, everything has drawbacks, and that applies to this color. Blue also happens to be significant to mosquitoes as well. This is because mosquitoes rely on sight to navigate, especially during the afternoon. This is why darker colors like blue, red, and black are more visible to them. So next time you wear your favorite blue shirt for your date, you might also attract mosquitoes!
4. Competition Between Color Merchants Was Fierce
You may easily obtain your art supplies or your acrylic painting now, but before the industrial revolution, colors were obtained from natural sources. For instance, red dye was extracted from madder, whereas blue dye came from woad.
Given the rarity of these colors, merchants would compete to sell their products. Furthermore, there were restrictions where professional dyers were only licensed to produce a specific dye. Thus, a green dye merchant cannot make red dye and vice-versa. This was especially fierce between sellers of blue and red dye sellers during the 13th century.
5. Pink is a Relaxing Color
Pink has always been a soft color and is associated with femininity and peace. This relaxing effect has been supported by studies that show that the color soothes anger and relieves anxiety. Pink has a positive effect even on color-blind people. Using pink to paint visiting team lockers is a testament to the color’s power.
6. White is the Safest Color
A study on road traffic accidents, it was concluded that white vehicles were less likely to be involved in fatal accidents whereas black vehicles had the highest percentage of deadly crashes.
7. Chickens are Very Sensitive to Light Color
Did you know that poultry farmers adjust the lighting to manipulate chicken behavior? For example, orange-red lights encourage reproduction, red lights reduce feather picking, and finally, blue-green light stimulates growth.
8. Red Is The First Color A Baby Sees
A fun fact that you probably didn’t know is that babies can distinguish the color red by the time they are two weeks old. And by the time they are five months old, they can fully enjoy the color spectrum.
9. Mars Gets Its Red Color From This Element
Our favorite red neighbor gets its characteristic color due to the compound iron oxide. Interestingly, this is the same compound that gives blood red and rusty color. This color is due to the atmosphere’s reaction between iron-rich soil and oxygen.
It is only fitting that this planet is named after the Roman war god.
10. “Red” Often Means “Beautiful” And “Colorful”
Another interesting red color fact is that in many languages, red is synonymous with beautiful and colorful. In Russian, the word for red, “Krasny” has the same source root for beautiful “Krasivy.” In addition, Latin and Castilian languages have the same word for red and colorful.
11. Green Came To Represent Inconstancy
Green color has been historically associated with envy, betrayal, and other negative traits. For example, Judas is depicted as wearing green clothing. This is likely because green dyes were difficult to obtain and prone to discoloration over time.
12. The Grey When Lights Turn Off Has a Name
When you suddenly move from a light to a dark room, you will notice a gray color until your eye adjusts to the dark. This color is called ‘eigengrau’ and is German for “own gray”.
13. “Orange” Used To Be A Complicated Word
Many think that the fruit is named after the color, but it is the other way around. The color orange was initially called ‘goldthread’, meaning yellow-red, not exactly a word that rolls off your tongue.
14. Color Affects Taste
As strange as it may sound, the color of your tableware and containers can influence how you perceive taste. Researchers at the University of Oxford concluded that the same food in orange and cream-colored tableware tasted significantly better compared to that in white or red ones.
15. Color-Blind People Have Great Night Vision
That is a win for our color-impaired friends. They have better night vision compared to their ordinary counterparts. The US Army has claimed that they are also better at identifying camouflaged colors which means they can spot hidden enemies more easily.
16. You Can Fear Specific Colors
Yes, as strange as it sounds, people can be afraid of colors and this condition is known as chromophobia. This is usually a result of associating a certain color with a traumatic event, so when an individual sees that color, it triggers unpleasant memories and elicits fear.
17. Bulls and ‘seeing Red’ is a Myth
That is because bulls are color-blind. They react to movement and are likely to be agitated by purple or blue as much as red.
The reason why matadors use red capes is to hide the blood splatters from violent bullfights.
18. Horses Have Limited Palette Sight
Horses have the largest eyes of any mammal on land. Yet, surprisingly, they can only see two colors.
19. Not All Chameleons Can Change To Any Color
Although popularly portrayed as color shifters, not all chameleons can change colors. The ones that mostly change from green to black, dark grey, or brown to blend into their surroundings as quickly as 20 seconds.
However, there are rare species that can shift into bolder colors such as pink, red, blue, or purple. But the purpose is to communicate rather than camouflage. For example, they can change to red before attacking to warn predators or humans.
20. The Mantis Shrimp Can see the Widest Range Of Colors
The Mantis shrimp packs a powerful punch, but what makes it fascinating is its incredibly diverse perception of color vision. The only creature in the entire animal kingdom capable of achieving this feat.
They can see polarized light, ultraviolet, and even infrared. To matter into perspective, humans only have three color-sensitive cones, red, blue, and green, whereas the Mantis shrimp has 16 and can see colors more than ten times more than humans.
21. The Sun is Not Yellow
This may shock many, but the sun isn’t yellow but white. The different shades of the sun that you see at various times of the day are due to the filtering effect of the wavelength colors by the Earth’s atmosphere. The remaining long wavelength colors that are red, yellow, and orange give the sun its characteristic color.
22. Crayola’s Senior Crayon Maker Was Color Blind
Crayola is an intrinsic part of everyone’s childhood. This company has been producing crayon art supplies for nearly a century. So it came as a surprise for many when the senior crayon maker at Crayola, Emerson Moser revealed that he has been colorblind during his entire tenure of 37 years at the company.
Colors are a natural part of life itself. They are everywhere and the first thing we perceive after birth. However, we are so used to the presence of colors that it is often overlooked.
These interesting facts were compiled to grow interested and appreciation regarding this natural phenomenon. So next time, you can appreciate the colorful world around you and see it in a new light.
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