What Does The Color Pink Mean In Psychology?

What does the color pink mean?

In Western culture, the color pink has traditionally been associated with sweetness, tenderness and romance. But where does this come from? As with other colors, the color pink is closely linked to the values ​​and practices of our culture, which when perpetuated generate social codes and individual perceptions about objects in the world.

The above has been widely investigated by the psychology of colors, thus generating different answers about the meanings of the color pink, and about its connotations or effects in cultural terms. We will see a brief description of this below.

Psychology of color

Among other things, the psychology of colors has taught us that chromatic stimuli are an active part of our development. They are found in our environment and, furthermore, they are not neutral stimuli: they are loaded with cultural meanings, while they allow us to evoke sensations, perceptions, thoughts, ideas, judgments, attitudes, etc. That is, they generate effects at a psychological level.

They can even predispose us to act, for example, if we find a red signal it is likely that our alarms in the nervous system will automatically be activated and we will prepare to flee from possible harm. Or, without necessarily being aware of it, Colors can influence the way we feel towards certain objects which ultimately has consequences for our approach to them.

This is because by perceiving colors, we activate certain impressions about objects, that is, through them we can condition our perception of what surrounds us. The above occurs due to the symbolic meanings that we have placed on them over time.

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For example, during the association of colors with natural phenomena and elements, and also through their association with cultural variables. Goethe already said that colors, which are ultimately sensory encodings of the decomposition of natural light, produce an individual effect always linked to the moral sphere. So that, colors carry social codes and they carry with them the opportunity to establish taxonomies and individual positions, in permanent link with social norms.

Specifically, the color pink is obtained from the mixture between red and white, and its name in Spanish comes precisely from the varieties of rose bushes that have bloomed in many places around the world. This word comes from Latin and Greek, which were used to name the same flower, and which in turn come from a proto-Indo-European root that means “thorn.”

Meaning of the color pink in psychology

According to the research of Eva Heller (2004), a pioneer in studies on color psychology, pink increases its preference index according to the age of the people. Being a youthful color, it is usually more valued by older people.

Likewise, it usually evokes positive feelings related to kindness, delicacy, softness, as well as childishness and dreaminess. However, this itself generates an ambivalent meaning, since It is also related to “cheesiness,” which can cause rejection for several people..

The above becomes more complex when pink is mixed with other colors. For example, together with white it can represent innocence; and next to black and violet it can be related more to eroticism and seduction. Also when mixed with black it can be associated with the tensions between the delicate and the rough, sensitivity and insensitivity.

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To study the above, Manav (2007) evaluated the relationship between emotions and chromatic stimuli, finding that the sensations of enjoyment, joy and warmth They were mainly related to pink and yellow stimuli.

Something striking was the practical use derived from said association. For example, participants showed a preference for placing the color pink within their rooms, and especially in the rooms where children sleep.

Some cultural connotations of this color

We have seen that in Western culture the color pink has traditionally been related to the ethereal, the sweet and the pleasant, love, tenderness and innocence. Likewise, it has been associated with optimism, which we see, for example in phrases like “everything is pink.”

On the other hand, in Catholicism, the color pink has been used to represent joy, and in some countries also in the West, the political use of pink or light red symbolizes socialism.

In addition, the color pink in some oriental countries such as Japan has an association with eroticism, while in Western Europe it is related to novels and romantic stories as well as to the private environment and intimacy. For its part, in feng shui (which relates colors to daily activities), the color pink is linked to marriage and emotional ties.

Pink and gender stereotypes

The above has been closely connected with Western imaginaries of the feminine, which have ultimately perpetrated a series of gender stereotypes. In this context, the color pink has been linked to the values ​​associated with femininity, and has had a significant impact on binary gender education.

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This is visible, for example, in the entire range of products intended for girls and women that are presented using this color. From the first toys and the simplest accessories to personal hygiene utensils, the objects of the domestic space, or the festivities related to motherhood and love.

Regarding the meanings associated with the color pink and its gender differences, Rivera (2001) found that women associate pink with “tranquility” and with the adjectives “pretty”, “tender” and “cute”. For their part, men associated pink with “pig,” “babies,” “sausage,” “meat,” “ugly,” “woman,” “ham,” “nothing,” and “horrible.” The participants in her study had in common the association of pink with “tenderness,” “skin,” “girl,” “love,” and “cake.”

Some studies on the history of the use of colors indicate that the marked gender symbolism of pink began in the late 19th century and early 20th century in Western Europe and the United States; when the care homes for abandoned infants began to differentiate boys and girls with light blue and pink colors respectively. In more recent times, based on the sexual revolutions and gender demands, The color pink has gradually modified its uses normalizing, for example, that it be worn on men’s clothing.