Color aesthetics: A transatlantic comparison of psychological and physiological impacts of warm and cool colors in garden landscapes

Chris Neale, Alistair Griffiths, Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, Sanjana Mendu, Mehdi Boukhechba, Jenny Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Evidence shows green space exposure has beneficial impacts on psychological and physiological wellbeing. However, aesthetic differences in color use in cultivated garden landscapes on wellbeing remains unexplored. This study investigates how warm and cool colored garden landscapes affect psychological and physiological wellbeing and how responses differ geographically. Our between subjects design used USA and UK participants exposed to videos of static garden landscapes consisting of (a) warm colors, (b) cool colors and (c) control images. Measures of subjective psychological wellbeing (UWIST Mood Adjective Checklist (MACL)) and biometrics of stress using the Empatica E4 watch (Heart rate; Heart Rate Variability (HRV); Skin Temperature; Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Photoplethysmography) were obtained to ascertain if warm and cool colored cultivated garden landscapes affected psychological and physiological responses. Results showed statistical differences between locations in psychological and physiological wellbeing. USA participants experienced increases in hedonic tone and decreases in perceived stress after viewing warm and cool colored garden landscapes, a result not found in UK participants. Physiological indicators show geographical differences with beneficial effects of warm colors in the USA, shown in HRV and GSR measures relative to control. The UK sample presented mixed evidence regarding positive effects of warm and cool colored garden landscapes on physiological measures. These findings show stronger psychological and physiological responses to color in the US sample compared to a UK sample, suggesting geographic disparities in these responses to plant color. This should be further explored to understand color choice for landscape design to optimize outdoor settings that maximize wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100038
Number of pages10
JournalWellbeing, Space and Society
Volume2
Early online date15 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

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