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How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals  By  cover art

How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals

By: William Lidwell,The Great Courses
Narrated by: William Lidwell
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Publisher's summary

There’s more to colors than just aesthetics. There’s an actual science behind how colors work on your eyes and your brain. And the secrets that scientists are uncovering offer astounding revelations about how colors influence the way you think, feel, and behave. And what’s truly surprising: The way our eyes perceive and our brains interpret reds, greens, blues, blacks, and other colors isn’t a subjective experience, but a hard-wired one. It’s a profound concept - one whose ramifications extend to everything from business and advertising to politics and entertainment.

These lectures will open your eyes to why your favorite products practically jump off the shelf; why certain logos are more memorable than others; why particular scenes in nature evoke peace, joy, or fear; and so much more. Now you can learn how to tap into the power of color to create environments and achieve a range of visual goals in the six lectures of How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals, taught by design expert and professor William Lidwell of the University of Houston.

Central to this course is the expanse of information about how colors work on our brains to steer our thoughts and actions. You’ll go behind the scenes and examine the fascinating experiments and case studies that scientists have used to uncover what they know about color. And you’ll finally understand the (often hidden) significance behind the colors of your everyday life.

A must-have course for corporate leaders, design professionals, marketers, and anyone else who communicates visually, How Colors Affect You tells you everything you need to know about the science of color and its impact on all aspects of human experience. These lectures will give you a beautiful new perspective on color - one rooted in credible scientific knowledge and not popular myth.

©2013 The Great Courses (P)2013 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals

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Annoyed

The reader has an annoying manner of speaking in bursts. My major beef is with the content of the book. The“facts” were often blatantly false, mere opinion. This I know from my education and decades of professional work experience in commercial photography, graphic design and web design. Some of his “facts” were very easy to reveal as bias. For instance, this book claims that “the ancients, including the ancient Hebrews,” Lidwell said, “did not experience the color blue.” He cites clearly biased “research” which looked at word frequency in ancient texts. His mistake was easily disproven by searching in a digital concordance of the Bible (New and Old Testament) for nine basic hues (colors). Here are the results from the NIV translation in English: red 205, white 72, purple 53, blue 43, green 35, black 21, gray 15, yellow 3, orange 0. Not only does “blue” appear in the Scriptures, but it was ahead of green in frequency and twice that of black, which according to his own words in several places, black should have ranked first with white, with red following. So, Lidwell is not a careful researcher. He calls things “myth” based on ONE study. That is poor work. He had many interesting things to say, but can we trust any of it? This is emphasized as he was wrong on numerous occasions, more than I gave examples for. He will gain a following among the uninformed and the easily led, but not from anyone who is a discriminating reader, who does not believe something just because it is published. There is a lot of junk in print and online. Be discriminating! Take this book with a grain of salt — or just plain don’t waste your time.

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88 people found this helpful

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  • CS
  • 05-14-19

Something fishy here

Currently 97 reviews (and a rating of 4.8) are reported for this book but audible only has 8 reviews listed... and not all are good... and there are none on Amazon itself...
While not outright pseudoscience this writer overstates conclusions of small, outdated, non-replicated studies as if they are both accurate and meaningful. Another reviewer wrote about the blue problem, but I was most annoyed by the apparent lack of understanding the author has of effect size in research. A study that is statistically significant is not necessarily showing a meaningful result or is significant in the way we typically use that word, and yet over and over again this author dramatically overstates/misrepresents the research.

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49 people found this helpful

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Not a "great course" yet

The outcomes of the experiments we're interesting. However there was little questioning of statistical make up to validate significance. The wholesale embracing of evolutionary assumptions as pure fact leaves the listener suspicious of the good that may have come from the researchers efforts. This work has potential but falls short of qualifying as a"great" course. More critical thinking is needed to achieve more than parroting.

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11 people found this helpful

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More to color than meets the eye.

This course has much more to offer than its title might suggest. It is full of surprising information and highly interesting. Even though it is short, it is packed. Based on science, not pseudo-science or mysticism. It is focused more on psychology than physiology. Well presented and full of surprising facts.

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Conspicuously Missing:

Neuroscience. Is fMRI data for color studies unavailable? Theories are all over other the place on the "evolution" of blue perception, with experiments pointing to cultural perception, and evolutionary theories to fish ancestry. It would be nice to see brains reacting to colors and would probably provide much more biological insight into why we make value judgments based on colors.
With all the theoretical complexity discussed, I find they miss out on a few very basic explanations for our psychological responses to color, especially black vs. white. The ability to see has profound evolutionary consequences for humans. Not only is it harder or impossible to see thinks like food, water, game, predators, or precipices, in the dark, its even hard to distinguish or identify darkly colored objects in the light. Not to mention that the absence of light altogether would spell the end of life as we know it: no light = no plants = the death of our entire food chain.
Visibility would also factor into the Savannah Theory in our need for visibility to see game, predators, etc. It would naturally trump desert pics (also with high visibility) because of its presence of green plant life, indicating the presence of water and food (vegetation, game).
Lastly, visibility is again determinant with black and white design - black and white, used together, providing the most clear rendering of any design - with clarity at its best on a white back drop.
P.S. dumb question, but why does red, placed NEXT to greenish-blue, make it look more green?

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A Lot of Opinion Presented as Fact

He "knows" he's right, and therefore there's no other way to think of things. The introduction was extremely off-putting and he came across as very closed-minded. There are huge gender binaries in the way he speaks as if that's a fact, right there, his research is biased, and it just goes from there.

The whole jersey thing is ABSURD when based on color, and it has NOTHING to do with color of the jersey. He wants to say the Flyers (the team called the "Broadstreet Bullies") were most penalized BECAUSE they wore black jerseys (which they only wear half the games and he doesn't seem to know that). Dear gods, that's SO incredibly wrong. I couldn't listen anymore after that. I couldn't imagine anyone taking this guy seriously after he backed something so absurdly wrong.

Say it with me, kids: CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION!

Don't waste your money on this one.

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Seems dated a bit

I would not recommend this book. It seems dated in that the examples of how to apply the color strategies are very narrow, there’s no reference to the very obvious association between black and white skin color in society and there are no references, I believe, to women researchers who have contributed to our knowledge of color.

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Not very useful

I didnt really learn much unfortunately. I think the author knows a lot but maybe something more advanced is needed

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Great Introduction but...

...it is missing an accompanying PDF outline. With many conflicting concepts being introduced in such condensed lectures it would be more helpful to appreciate and internalize the material.

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As expected

I would’ve liked this book to be more In depth and longer, it’s sort of a general overview, BUT it’s all backed by interesting social psych experiments, which I liked

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1 person found this helpful