Color/Synesthesia Project: DOES COLOR HAVE A PERCEIEVED WEIGHT?

In order to find if certain colors have different perceived weights, and if so what colors were heavier than others, I did an experiment using participants from grades 9 and 10 in high school. The experiment involved 5 small boxes that were all painted different colors: black, blue, red, green and yellow. Each box was filled with screws and measured to be exactly 2 pounds. The aim of the experiment was to see that even though all of the boxes weighed exactly the same weight, was there going to be a difference in the estimated weights of the boxes as a result of their different colors.
photo 2(3)

25 students took part in the experiment. Each was given one of the boxes and then asked to estimate how much they thought the box weighed. This was done for all five boxes and the results recorded are as shown:
color experiement data

As you can see there are definite variations in the estimated weights for the different colored boxes. Only two students had the same weight estimate for all five boxes. From these results it seems as though green weighed “the heaviest” as it had the greatest amount of estimated pounds after 25 students. Green was then followed by red, black, blue and yellow.
heaviest color pie chart

What was expected:
The order the colors were expected to be in were as shown (from heaviest to lightest):
1. black
2. red
3. blue
4. green
5. yellow

Black is supposedly the heaviest because it is the darkest color. And it is obvious that black is associated with being heavy simply because that is the way it has been used in every sort of visual design ever. However the reason why black was third in my heaviest color countdown may have been because the participants, knowing that black is associated with weight, would have expected it to be heavy and therefore would have paid less attention to its weight, ignoring their natural instinct to perceive black as heavier. I also had several participants who seemed to figure out the aim of the experiment and several who were cautious that it was some sort of trick and in turn, this may have skewed their estimates.
black 4

Red is second on the list because it is often associated with much heavier things like, blood, love/romance, fire, as well as appetite. Red is a seemingly “thicker” color, almost choking, and is known to have a more serious tone to it. Therefore, it is no surprise that red is found second on my heaviest color countdown.
red 4

Blue, in a similar way to red can be associated with heavier things like the ocean or depression (the blues), but it also can be the color of the sky: a light, happy, natural color. In a way, blue is somewhat of a soft and more merciful color that has an air of freedom to it. Therefore, it is not that big of a surprise that blue is fourth in my countdown.
blue 4

Now here is where the big surprise comes in at green. Green is expected to be the second lightest color in the group, yet I found it to be estimated as the heaviest. Green, like blue is considered a natural color: the color of grass and the natural plant world around us. It is light and playful, never associated with anything really serious. The only explanation I have as for why green was the heaviest may have been the shade of green I used. It was not really a “light” green, but instead more on the dark side with seemingly less brightness to it. Otherwise, I can’t think of any other explanation as to why green came in at number one.
green 4

Finally, it was definitely expected that yellow come in at the lightest color because it is the lightest color out of this group and again is associated with light: the sun, light bulbs, happiness. Anything that involves yellow is never of a serious nature and is always “happy”.
yellow 4

How can this be implemented into real life?
Kayla Knight discusses how color is implemented into visual design:
http://sixrevisions.com/graphics-design/visual-weight-designs/
Jessica Chia suggests ways to lose weight through color:
http://www.fitbie.com/lose-weight/tips/color-psychology
Vibrational Energy Medicine talks about the concept of color therapy:
http://www.energyandvibration.com/color.htm

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