A study of colour emotion and colour preference. Part II: Colour emotions for two-colour combinations

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Citations (Scopus)


Eleven colour-emotion scales, warm-cool, heavy-light, modern-classical, clean-dirty, active-passive, hard-soft, harmonious-disharmonious, tense-relaxed, fresh-stale, masculine-feminine, and like-dislike, were investigated on 190 colour pairs with British and Chinese observers. Experimental results show that gender difference existed in masculine-feminine, whereas no significant cultural difference was found between British and Chinese observers. Three colour-emotion factors were identified by the method of factor analysis and were labeled "colour activity," "colour weight," and "colour heat." These factors were found similar to those extracted from the single colour emotions developed in Part I. This indicates a coherent framework of colour emotion factors for single colours and two-colour combinations. An additivity relationship was found between single-colour and colour-combination emotions. This relationship predicts colour emotions for a colour pair by averaging the colour emotions of individual colours that generate the pair. However, it cannot be applied to colour preference prediction. By combining the additivity relationship with a single-colour emotion model, such as those developed in Part I, a colour-appearance-based model was established for colour-combination emotions. With this model one can predict colour emotions for a colour pair if colour-appearance attributes of the component colours in that pair are known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalColor Research and Application
Issue number4
Early online date26 May 2004
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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