Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jenny Tilloston's Fashion, Perfume & Green Lantern's Emotional Spectrum 2

Do colors reflect emotions?  Do emotions reflect colors?  Can the new generation of smart clothes use color to affect your emotions?

Can emotions produce a sort of energy?  We think so.  The questions rather should be, can we decipher this energy?

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The Power of Colors
In the comic book universe of the DC character Green Lantern, the emotional electromagnetic spectrum is an energy field that is fueled by the emotions of all sentient beings.  Many different cultures have associated color with emotion.  Some, like the Egyptians and the cultures in India, have even proscribed healing powers to colors in what is called Chromotherapy.  Despite what may be the pitfalls of many of the claims of chromotherapy, there is no doubt some evolutionary reason why foods are certain colors and why certain colors produce certain emotions.  The present orthodox view (cognitive) is that colors mean something to people due to the associations certain colors have to particular experiences in their life.  They argue that color, like smell, is a cerebral bookmark for certain memories, either good or bad.
Some of the studies regarding color are intriguing.  We shall quote from a paper written in 1983 entitled, The Effects of Color in Store Design.  It is a rather trivial sounding subject, but it is an often-quoted paper.  According to the authors of this paper, way back in 1957 it was known that colors could affect living things.  R.M. Gerard[1] demonstrated according to this study that,
…using red, white, and blue lights transmitted on a diffusing screen.  Measurements were made of the subjects’ blood pressure, palmar conductance, respiration rate, heart rate, muscular activation, frequency of eye blinks, and brain waves.  Blood pressure generally increased under  the influence of red light and decreased under blue light.  Both colors produced immediate increases in palmar conductance, but red produced a more sustained increase.  Respiratory rate increased during exposure to red light and decreased with exposure to blue light.  Exposure to red light increased frequency of eye blinks; blue light decreased eye blink frequency. The brain waves of subjects were significantly affected by all three lights (red, white, and blue) as expected. 
But it is not only humans who are affected by colors.  Animals also are affected.  The results were fascinating.
One Study was done on mink that were kept behind different colored glass and plastic (Ott 1973).[2] Approximately 500 mink were exposed to natural daylight filtered through a deep pink glass.  These mink became difficult to manage and exhibited aggressive, occasionally vicious, behavior.  Mating behavior was adversely affected also.  When a group of approximately the same number of mink was exposed to daylight through a deep blue plastic, their behavior became increasingly friendly.  In 30 days, the mink under the blue condition had become sufficiently docile that they could be handled with bare hands.  All the female mink under the blue plastic became pregnant after the first mating.
This study goes on to more fascinating experiments with humans, both female and male.  If it is currently believed that “…minute amounts of electromagnetic energy that compose light after affect one or more of the brain’s neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry messages from nerve to nerve to muscle.”  Although a lot of research has been made in the area of color and how it affects the brain (chromatics), the famous quote of Erwin Schrodinger, one of the world's most eminent physicists still stands,
The sensation of color cannot be accounted for by the physicist's objective picture of light waves.  Could the physiologists account for it, if he had fuller knowledge than he has of the processes in the retina and the nervous processes set up by them in the optical nerve bundles and in the brain?  I do not think so.
These quote speaks of Qualia, the latin word for singular, which refers to subjective conscious experiences.   Yet we could imagine a point where we might be able, with enough efforts in the very always tentative modeling of the brain, to be able to detect emotions from a living being as a form of energy.  There is no doubt in our mind, that science is far from knowing all the different types of energy in the universe.
There is no one that questions the value of colors in affecting emotions in general.  It has been long known for instance that the colors picked for a product are essential in the marketing of that product.  Of course, different cultures view certain colors in different ways and this must be taken into account.

Emotion And Energy
There is an emerging neuroscience of emotion.  We will not attempt to cover all the aspects of what an emotion is or how they are produced by the brain.  For that information, we provide to you an excellent video on the subject.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:  

If emotions can be measured physiologically, which they can, then it is possible to contruct a visual picture of these readings. This is exactly what the artist Eva Lee has did in 2009. We include her video of these images. If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

Discrete Terrain: Windows on Five Emotions (Right Channel) from Eva Lee on Vimeo.

Could there ever be an "emotional electromagnetic spectrum" which calibrating certain frequencies to certain emotions that are created by the combined emotions of sentient beings?  Is anyone really prepared to say that this could never happen?  We hope not.  On a more practical level though, with all that we know about color, it makes perfect sense to us, that Dr. Tilloston should try to make clothing that can use color to calm us, assure us, and excite us.  The combination of scent and color should prove to be a very powerful combination.

If you have not heard of the new Green Lantern movie coming out in two weeks, we present the official trailer for it.  It is clear to use that these kinds of comics represent many of our human aspirations, as well as a form of our science fiction.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

[1] Gerard, R.M. (1957), “Differential Effects of Colored Lights on Psychophysiological Functions.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
[2] Ott, J.N. (1973) Health and Light, New York: Simon & Schuster

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