A study of colour emotion and colour preference. Part I: Colour emotions for single colours

Li Chen Ou, M. Ronnier Luo, Andrée Woodcock, Angela Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

461 Citations (Scopus)


This article classifies colour emotions for single colours and develops colour-science-based colour emotion models. In a psychophysical experiment, 31 observers, including 14 British and 17 Chinese subjects assessed 20 colours on 10 colour-emotion scales: warm-cool, heavy-light, modern-classical, clean-dirty, active-passive, hardsoft, tense-relaxed, fresh-stale, masculine-feminine, and like-dislike. Experimental results show no significant difference between male and female data, whereas different results were found between British and Chinese observers for the tense-relaxed and like-dislike scales. The factor analysis identified three colour-emotion factors: colour activity, colour weight, and colour heat. The three factors agreed well with those found by Kobayashi and Sato et al. Four colour-emotion models were developed, including warm-cool, heavy-light, active-passive, and hard-soft. These models were compared with those developed by Sato et al. and Xin and Cheng. The results show that for each colour emotion the models of the three studies agreed with each other, suggesting that the four colour emotions are culture-independent across countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalColor Research and Application
Issue number3
Early online date9 Apr 2004
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Colour emotion
  • Colour emotion space
  • Colour meaning
  • Colour psychology
  • Cross-cultural study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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