Educational resource of professor

Peter Vsevolodovich Yan'shin  


Psychology and psycho-semantics   OF COLOR   psychology      psycho-semantics       of color          psycho-semantics

Frequently Asked Questions


(The English version of Russian site)

(The English version of Russian 

To the main page


List of my scientific works on the color

Psycho-semantics of Color
Definitions of Color

The evolution of the color vision
In what did make mistakes Newton?

Guest book

Friendly sites

Rambler's Top100



Last renovation of page 07.01.04

On this page are placed the theses and the definitions, protected in the doctoral thesis of the author at the session of dissertation advice D 501.001.14 at the Moscow State University of M.V.Lomonosov 7- th of June 2001. Leading organization: Institute of psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Definitions of Color

Represented on this page formulations - is the summary of the problem study. Way itself, which led to them, here was not represented. It is reflected in my monographs, articles, and on 400 pages of doctoral thesis.

In this division I lead those definitions, which make psychological sense. If you are interested in the traditional (" natural-science ") definitions of color, please,  click here

The most important thesis, which does have nothing in common with physics, consists of the following: The conscious realized experience it is re to consider as the functional mental/psychic organ of the perception of the Color's emotional values.  

Explanation. This assertion is nontrivial from the psychological positions also. It contains several assertions. One lies in the fact that meanings (values) of color  it is possible to perceive, but not to understand, for example, or to interpret. The second - in man is formed special mental/psychic organ for this perception. The third - this organ is the realized experience of color. Similar definition would be approximately of this kind: we perceive color by soul, but not by eyes - The same thought, but expressed simpler and more intelligible.

Color, as the totality of nuances (hues), is the stable semantic structure, correlated with the special emotional and personality features of man. Color is the independent system of orientation in reality, independent from the object-oriented, moreover - it is the such system, which is capable of accomplishing a complex change in the functional state of individual, avoiding consciousness, and also to accurately signal about this change.

Explanation. By object orientation here is understood the feature of human soul to separate in the world the discrete essences, designating them by their names (nouns, that correspond to a question "What it is?"). It is universally-adopted that the so-called "object-relation" is the chief characteristic of mental/psychic images. But colors do not answer a question "What it is?"! When I do lead here the mass of the determinations of color, I do answer a question " What a Color is". Doing so, I turn to the reason, "ratio" of the reader. But when I see specific hue, I, to one degree or another,  is capable to realize quite a different piece of information. Color - it is a quality and property, but not the names of objects. Interestingly here that these qualities of objects automatically change our sincere psychic state. I.e. through the colors the objects are found in the direct contact with our soul! This is staggering interesting and it is mysterious.  

Color is capable to regularly express the emotional  attitude of subject toward significant others and himself. In the color the visualization of emotional relation occurs.  

Explanation. This consequence of the aforesaid above. The ability of color to modify our sincere state and to signal about this change has the back side. If we designate someone (or ourselves) with the aid of the color, we report by this, what sincere emotional state causes this object ore person. Our state is realized as an attitude and is symbolized in this color.  

Commentary. At the basis of the perception of color lie the pra-semantic structures, begun to operate already in the earliest stages (regarding the perception process) of the presentation of object to consciousness. At present it is possible to assume that these structures are caused biologically. Colors are catigoriesed (are classified) at the level of the physiological reactions of organism, therefore the interconnections existing at the level of deep semantics cannot be random, conditioned-reflex or arbitrary or conventional. The facts force us to recognize, at least at this deep level, the unity of "natural value" (pra-semantics) of colors and physiological reactions of organism to color influence (as was stated fore the co called "connotative meanings" by Ch. Osgood). But, it is necessary to state, that this is partly correct even for the level of the more differentiated experiences, represented to the consciousness by the more differentiated emotional states ("surprise", "love", "hatred", "admiration", etc.).
Something, that in perception is represented as a color, in the experience is represented as emotion, and vice versa. I.e., something that in the consciousness of man is present as emotional attitude, the characteristic, special mood, on the picture is represented as color range, coloring.  

Color is a psychoyd, or quasi-mental, phenomenon in the surrounding man reality. Colors are emotion-like, and the emotions are color-like.

Explanation. By this the specific duality of colors is recognized. First, they exist also as ideas, as perceptive images, preserving, nevertheless, their psychological effectiveness. In the second place, by this it is stated, that in the external world some mental content, that subjectively is survived as an emotion, exists in the form of colors. Or, which is the same, - in the form of coloring to man is given to see the emotions.  

At the unconscious level the color is a symbol of its action on a man.  

Explanation. These phenomena are fixed as in the steady speech expressions ("dark mood", "gloomy mood", "pink glasses", "melancholy green", "dark-blue Monday", "black eye ", "bright idea",  and the like.) so in the numerous experimental facts of the reconstruction of color- emotional semantic spaces. In the course of the cultural-historical development of man it learned to use this property of colors as the external (and internal) instrument (means) of the arbitrary regulation of its physiological and psychological state.  
From other side, the psychological state itself regularly modifies the coloring of the perceived image (coloring of the picture of world). Color image (coloring) is the analog of verbal statement, i.e., it allows the regular "projection" of the content into the category system of the developed forms of values, including of verbal one.  

When the color is discussed in the developed here semantic and semiotic sense, then it is necessary to distinguish, as this exists into philology, external and internal form of statement as two aspects (designate and denotate), joint together at the moment of semiotic whole. The semiotic aspect of color (designate) is represented by the "perceptive" color, i.e., by those, which we perceive (ore imaging) and which is under consideration  and within the framework of the theory of color recognition (differentiation). Strictly speaking, this means "color" in the customary sense of the word. However, in the essence, it is only the top of the entire iceberg. The  internal form comes forward, in particular, as the "idea of the vital attitudes of subject".  

To the beginning of the page



on the site on Narod.Ru on Yandex

To the main page   the author