Universal Principles of Design | How Colors Affect You: Reference List
A reference list for “How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals”, a Great Courses series by William Lidwell.
Great Courses, design, color
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How Colors Affect You: Reference List

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  • Colour and its Role in Sweetness Perception
    Christopher Strugnell
    Appetite, 1997, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 85
  • Preconceptions of Taste Based on Colors
    Christopher Koch and Eric Koch
    The Journal of Psychology, May 2003, Vol. 137, No. 3, pp. 233–242
  • Effect of Colour of Drugs: Systematic Review of Perceived Effect of Drugs and of their Effectiveness
    Anton J M de Craen, Pieter Roos, A Leonard de Vries, and Jos Kleijnen
    BMJ, 1996, Vol. 313, No. 7072, pp. 1624–1626
  • Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution
    Brent Berlin and Paul Kay
    University of California Press, 1969
  • Focal Colors Are Universal After All
    Terry Regier, Paul Kay, and Richard Cook
    PNAS, June 7, 2005, Vol. 102, No. 23, pp. 8386–8391
  • Knowing Color Terms Enhances Recognition: Further Evidence from English and Himba
    Julie Goldstein, Jules Davidoff, and Debi Roberson
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2009, Vol. 102, No. 2, pp. 219–238
  • The Human Factors of Color in Environmental Design: A Critical Review
    Barbara Wise and James Wise
    NASA Contractor Report 177498, 1988



  • Colors of Disaster: The Psychology of the “Black Sun”
    Vital Skriptchenko Gregorian, Anait Azarian, Michael Demaria, and Leisl Mcdonald
    The Arts in Psychotherapy, 1996, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 1–14
  • The Dark Side of Self- and Social Perception: Black Uniforms and Aggression in Professional Sports
    Mark Frank and Thomas Gilovich
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1988, Vol. 54, No. 1, pp. 74–85
  • On Thin Ice: Does Uniform Color Really Affect Aggression in Professional Hockey?
    David Caldwell and Jerry Burger
    Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2011, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 306–310
  • Can Uniform Color Color Aggression? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Professional Ice Hockey
    Gregory Webster, Geoffrey Urland, and Joshua Correll
    Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2012, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 274–281
  • Wearing Black Clothes: The Impact of Offenders’ and Suspects’ Clothing on Impression Formation
    Aldert Vrij
    Applied Cognitive Psychology, 1997, Vol. 11, pp. 47–53
  • Police Uniform Color and Citizen Impression Formation
    Richard Johnson
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 2005, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 58–66
  • The Colors of the Alphabet: Naturally-Biased Associations Between Shape and Color
    Ferrinne Spector and Daphne Maurer
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: HPP, 2012, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 484–495
  • The Color of Sin: White and Black Are Perceptual Symbols of Moral Purity and Pollution
    Gary Sherman and Gerald Clore
    Psychological Science, 2009, Vol. 20, No. 8, pp. 1019–1025
  • Why Good Guys Wear White: Automatic Inferences About Stimulus Valence Based on Brightness
    Brian Meier, Michael Robinson, and Gerald Clore
    Psychological Science, 2004, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 82–87
  • Black and White Visual Contrast Primes “Black and White” Moral Thinking
    Theodora Zarkadi and Simone Schnall
    Poster presented at British Psychological Annual Conference in London, April 18–20, 2012
  • Is it the Plate or is it the Food? Assessing the Influence of the Color (Black or White) and Shape of the Plate on the Perception of the Food Placed on it
    Betina Piqueras–Fiszman, Jorge Alcaide, Elena Roura, and Charles Spence
    Food Quality and Preference, 2012, Vol. 24, pp. 205–208



  • Red Enhances Human Performance in Contests
    Russell Hill and Robert Barton
    Nature, May 2005, Vol. 435, No. 19, p. 293
  • Seeing Red? Putting Sportswear in Context | Reply by Hill and Barton
    Candy Rowe, Julie Harris, and S. Craig Roberts
    Nature, Oct 2005, Vol. 437, No. 293, pp. E10–E11
  • When the Referee Sees Red …
    Norbert Hagemann, Bernd Strauss, and Jan Leibing
    Psychological Science, 2008, Vol. 19, No. 8, pp. 769–771
  • The Influence of Red on Perceptions of Relative Dominance and Threat in a Competitive Context
    Roger Feltman and Andrew Elliot
    Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 2011, Vol. 33, pp. 308–314
  • Red Signals Dominance in Male Rhesus Macaques
    Sara Khan, William Levine, Seth Dobson, and Jerald Kralik
    Psychological Science, 2011, Vol. 22, No. 8, pp. 1001–1003
  • Perception of the Color Red Enhances the Force and Velocity of Motor Output
    Andrew Elliot and Henk Aarts
    Emotion, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 445–449
  • Color and Psychological Functioning: The Effect of Red on Performance Attainment
    Andrew Elliot, Markus Maier, Arlen Moller, Ron Friedman, and Jörg Meinhardt
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2007, Vol. 136, No. 1, pp. 154–168
  • Red is a Distractor for Men in Competition
    Silvia Ioana, Miriam Sandulache, Sinziana Avramescu, Andrei Ilie, Alexandru Neacsu, Leon Zagrean, and Mihai Moldovan
    Evolution and Human Behavior, 2007, Vol. 28, pp. 285–293
  • Romantic Red: Red Enhances Men’s Attraction to Women
    Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008, Vol. 95, No. 5, pp. 1150–1164
  • Red, Rank, and Romance in Women Viewing Men
    Andrew Elliot, Daniela Niesta Kayser, Tobias Greitemeyer, Stephanie Lichtenfeld, Richard Gramzow and Markus Maier
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2010, Vol. 139, No. 3, pp. 399–417
  • Tranquilizing Effect of Color Reduces Aggressive Behavior and Potential Violence
    Alexander Schauss
    Presented at 13th Advanced Seminar on Clinical Ecology, San Diego, CA. October 28, 1979
  • The Effect of Red Background Color on Willingness-to-Pay: The Moderating Role of Selling Mechanism
    Rajesh Bagchi and Amar Cheema
    Journal of Consumer Research, In Press



  • Cross-Cultural Effects of Color, but not Morphological Masculinity, on Perceived Attractiveness of Men’s Faces
    Ian Stephen, Isabel Scott, Vinet Coetzee, Nicholas Pound, David Perrett, and Ian S. Penton-Voak
    Evolution and Human Behavior, 2012, Vol. 33, pp. 260–267
  • Distinguishing Between Perceiver and Wearer Effects in Clothing Color-Associated Attributions
    S. Craig Roberts, Roy Owen, and Jan Havlicek
    Evolutionary Psychology, 2010, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 350–364
  • Influence of Color on Fire Vehicle Accidents
    Stephen Solomon and James King
    Journal of Safety Research, 1995, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 41–48
  • Lime-Yellow Color as Related to Reduction of Serious Fire Apparatus Accidents: The Case for Visibility in Emergency Vehicle Accident Avoidance
    Stephen Solomon
    Journal of the American Optometric Association, Vol. 61, pp. 827–831
  • Impact of Colors on The Psychology of Marketing – A Comprehensive Over View
    Nayanika Singh and S.K. Srivastava
    Management And Labour Studies, May 2011, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 199–209
  • Applications of Evolutionary Psychology in Marketing
    Gad Saad and Tripat Gill
    Psychology & Marketing, Dec. 2000, Vol. 17, No. 12, pp. 1005–1034
  • Worth Repeating: Paper Color May Have an Effect on Student Performance
    David Fordham and David Hayes
    Issues In Accounting Education, May 2009, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 187–194
  • Design: Spatial Color
    Contract, December 01, 2007
  • Effects of Indoor Color on Mood and Cognitive Performance
    K. Yildirim, A. Akalin-Baskaya, and M.L. Hidayetoglu
    Building and Environment, 2007, Vol. 42, pp. 3233–3240



  • Fertile Green: Green Facilitates Creative Performance
    Stephanie Lichtenfeld, Andrew Elliot, Markus Maier, and Reinhard Pekrun
    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2012, Vol. 38, No. 6, pp. 784–797
  • The Restorative Benefits of Nature: Toward an Integrative Framework
    Stephen Kaplan
    Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995, Vol. 16, pp. 169–182
  • The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature
    Marc Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan
    Psychological Science, 2008, Vol. 19, pp. 1207–1212
  • At Home with Nature: Effects of “Greenness” on Children’s Cognitive Functioning
    Nancy Wells
    Environment and Behavior, 2000, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 775–795
  • Does Plant Color Affect Emotional and Physiological Responses to Landscapes?
    A.J. Kaufman and V.I. Lohr
    Acta Horticulturae, 2004, Vol. 639, pp. 229–233
  • The Art Instinct
    Denis Dutton
    New York Times, Jan. 30, 2009
  • Beyond Savanna: An Evolutionary and Environmental Psychology Approach to Behavioral Effects of Nature Scenery in Green Advertising
    Patrick Hartmann and Vanessa Apaolaza-Ibáñez
    Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2010, Vol. 30, pp. 119–128
  • A Plasma Display Window?—The Shifting Baseline Problem in a Technologically Mediated Natural World
    Peter Kahn Jr., Batya Friedman, Brian Gill, Jennifer Hagman, Rachel Severson, Nathan Freier, Erika Feldman, Sybil Carrére, Anna Stolyar
    Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2008, Vol. 28, pp. 192–199
  • A Systematic Review of Evidence for the Added Benefits to Health of Exposure to Natural Environments
    Diana Bowler, Lisette Buyung-Ali, Teri Knight, Andrew Pullin
    BMC Public Health, 2010, Vol. 10, pp. 456–466



  • No Effect of Blue on Winning Contests in Judo
    Peter Dijkstra and Paul T. Y. Preenen
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2008, Vol. 275, pp. 1157–1162
  • Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Color on Cognitive Task Performances
    Ravi Mehta and Rui (Juliet) Zhu
    Science, Feb 27, 2009, Vol. 323, pp. 1226–1229
  • Effect of Partition Board Color on Mood and Autonomic Nervous Function
    Sokichi Sakuragi and Yoshiki Sugiyama
    Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2011, Vol. 113, No. 3, pp. 941–956
  • The Effect of Red Background Color on Willingness-to-Pay: The Moderating Role of Selling Mechanism
    Rajesh Bagchi and Amar Cheema
    Journal of Consumer Research, In Press
  • Blue Light improves Cognitive Performance
    S. Lehrl, K. Gerstmeyer, J. H. Jacob, H. Frieling, A.W. Henkel, R. Meyrer, J. Wiltfang, and J. Kornhuber, S. Bleich
    Journal of Neural Transmission, 2007, Vol. 114, pp. 457–460
  • Blue-Enriched White Light in the Workplace Improves Self-Reported Alertness, Performance and Sleep Quality
    Antoine Viola, Lynette James, Luc JM Schlangen, and Derk-Jan Dijk
    Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 297–306
  • Blue Light Exposure Reduces Objective Measures of Sleepiness During Prolonged Nighttime Performance Testing
    Jo Phipps-Nelson, Jennifer Redman, Luc J. M. Schlangen, and Shantha M.W. Rajaratnam
    Chronobiology International, 2009, Vol. 26, No. 5, pp. 891–912
  • In-Car Nocturnal Blue Light Exposure Improves Motorway Driving: A Randomized Controlled Trial
    Jacques Taillard, Aurore Capelli, Patricia Sagaspe, Anna Anund, Torbjorn Akerstedt, and Pierre Philip
    PLoS ONE, 2012, Vol. 7, No. 10, e46750
  • Non-Visual Effects of Light on Melatonin, Alertness and Cognitive Performance: Can Blue-Enriched Light Keep Us Alert?
    Sarah Laxhmi Chellappa, Roland Steiner, Peter Blattner, Peter Oelhafen, Thomas Götz, and Christian Cajochen
    PLoS ONE, Jan 2011, Vol. 6, No. 1, e16429




  • A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield
  • Bright Earth by Philip Ball
  • Color by Victoria Finlay
  • Color—Messages & Meanings by Leatrice Eiseman
  • Color and Culture by John Gage
  • Color and Meaning by John Gage
  • Isaac Newton by James Gleick
  • The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton
  • The Tell-Tale Brain by V.S. Ramachandran
  • The Vision Revolution by Mark Changizi
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher


  • “Colors”, RadioLab, Season 10, Episode 13, radiolab.org
  • “A Darwinian Theory of Beauty”, Denis Dutton, ted.com