Manifestation of depressive tendency in color perception and colors utilized in creating a self-portrait

Fong-Gong Wu, Eva Chang, Ying Jye Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


There are a large number of studies on color and its influence upon human emotions, but there have been only a few studies on the correlation between color and depressive mental disorders. This study used color preference, association, and creation of self-portraits to explore the relationship between color and depressive tendency. In this study, 337 freshman design students participated in the experiment, and the center for epidemiologic studies-depression scale (CES-D) was used to determine the extent of depression in the subjects. After classifying the subject as "depressive tendency" and "no depressive tendency," the semantic differential scale and color association methods were used to explore the subjects' emotional, cognitive, and perceptive responses to Munsell 14 colors. In the final portion of the study, the 233 subjects created a colored self-portrait. The main conclusions found by this study are: (1) when color is used to determine whether subjects have depressive tendency, then the three colors of Yellowish Red, Purple, and Dark Gray are important discriminant variables. (2) those who have depressive tendency (DT) or do not have depressive tendency (NoDT) have similar results in color association, except when viewing dark Gray in association with abstract concepts, wherein DT subjects chose more negative emotional words such as "hopeless," "fear," and "depression"; (3) among the 233 self-portraits, the existence of depressive tendency correlated with the colors used on the face in the self-portrait. From the above conclusions, this study finds that there is much association between depressive tendency and color perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalColor Research and Application
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May 5

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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