BUILDING BLOCK dimensional to 8-level


‘Cold /coolness’ and colour in Germany

Cold: blue 47%, white 23%, grey 14%, …
The coolness: blue 46%, silver 14%, white 13%, …

Heller E. (1989)

‘Masculinity’ and colour in Germany

Masculinity: blue 35%, black 20%, brown 13%, …
In modern symbolism, blue is the colour of masculinity. The old colour of masculinity is red. The cold, passion-free virtues are part of the male appearance of blue.
(Heller, 1989)

‘The cold’ and colour in Germany

The cold: blue 47%, white 23%, grey 14%, …
Heller E. (1989)

‘The coolness’ and colour in Germany

The coolness: blue 46%, silver 14%, white 13%, …
Heller E. (1989)

Body temperature, time of day and extraversion

Introverts have a higher temperature in the morning but by late afternoon and evening extraverts have the higher body temperature.
(Blake, 1967)

Cold and warm colours

The distinction between cold and warm colours is very old, rooted in the language about colours (Berlin & Kay, 1969) and is perceptually important. Psychological research at the University of Padua into the cold / warm qualities of colours shows that the subjective colour temperature experience changes abruptly when the limit of the hue values ​​above 120° in the CIELAB colour system has been exceeded. The same sudden change occurs around 330° (da Pos & Valenti, 2007). A clear correlation has been established between cold / warm and hue values ​​(Jin, Eun & You, 2003). This agreement also appears to work cross-culturally (Sato, Xin & Hansuebsai, 2003). The cold / warm contrast is related to the perceived light in a landscape. The “warm” colours are associated with daylight or sunset, and the “cold” colours associated with a gray or dark day. Warm colours are the shades of red-violet to yellow, cool colours are the shades that run from blue-green through blue-violet.

Cold blue, a detached, indifferent colour

Cold blue is symbolic and metaphorically a rejecting colour. It is a colour of indifference, detachement, of pride and of hardness. (Heller, 1989)

Cold/warm suggestion of depth

The perceptual and psychological effects of the cold / warm contrast indicate that warm colours tend to appear to the front in an image, while cool colours tend to fall behind. In classical landscape paintings, for example, the blue colour was applied to suggest depth and distance. (Michiels, DSD 2021)

Colour temperature terminology

The terms inward/outward are better suited to indicate the cold/warm colour quality when addressing the depth dimension parameter.

  • Inner colours are blue, black, green and purple
  • Outer colours are orange, red, white and yellow

In the breadth dimension the terms cool/hot represent a different aspect of colour temperature and is limited to green (coolest colour) and red (hottest colour).

Heat, weight and activity in multicolored images
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The findings of this study show that people in general perceive color emotions for multicoloured images in similar ways, and that observer judgments highly correlate with the predictive model recently proposed in image retrieval. Images were judged by observers on three emotion factors: heat, weight, and activity. Interobserver agreement obtained for the heat factor are 0.099, 0.079 for weight, and 0.160 for activity. Comparing the results with other studies involving single colors or two-color combinations shows that the agreement is good, especially for heat and weight. (Solli & Lenz, 2011)

Reward Dependence

Reward Dependence reflects a heritable bias in the maintenance of behaviour in response to cues of social reward. It is observed as sentimentality, social sensitivity, attachment, and dependence on approval by others. Reward Dependence corresponds with Eysenck’s introversion-extraversion trait.
Low Reward Dependence: independent, non-conformist, practical, tough-minded, cynical, unwilling to share their intimate feelings with others, socially detached, irresolute, insensitive to social cues and pressures, content to be alone, minimally motivated to please others, act for immediate gratification, social withdrawal, with aggressive anti-social behaviour detachment, coldness in social attitudes. Individuals low in Reward Dependence are practical, tough-minded, cold, socially insensitive, irresolute, and indifferent if alone.
High Reward Dependence: sentimentality, Openness to warm communication or social sensitivity, Attachment, Dependence on approval by others, greater need for social rewards and verbal approval, ambitious, warm, warm social relations, sentimental, pleasant, sociable effective communication, sensitive, recognize salient social cues, sympathetic, genuine care for others, socially dependent, persistent behaviours, easily influenced by emotional appeals, learning from reward signals, persisting repetition of actions that are associated with rewards, increased sociability and a need for social approval. Individuals high in Reward Dependence are tender-hearted, sensitive, socially dependent, and sociable.
(Cloninger, 1994)

Temperature and colour wavelength

A clear correlation has been established between a feeling of temperature and the wavelength of a colour. Psychological research shows that the subjective experience of colour temperature changes abruptly to cold when the limit of value above 120° CIELAB (NCS R50B) has been exceeded. The same sudden change occurs around 330° CIELAB  (NCS G50Y) when the feeling of temperature turns warmer. (da Pos & Valenti, 2007) This connection appears to work cross-culturally. (Sato, Xin & Hansuebsai, 2003)

The colour of ‘cold’ in 9 countries


Light blue is the most chosen colour in all countries. Germany, Iran, and Sweden have the strongest connection between Cold and light blue.
Jung et al. (2018)

Three colour factor emotional values

Li-Chen Ou et al. (2004) who investigated colour combinations identified three colour factors with the method of factor analysis that gave the best cross-cultural results, in particular colour temperature, colour weight and colour activity. This results in three groups of antagonistic pairs, which prove important when it comes to emotional values, nml. cold / warm, heavy / light and passive / active. This model is confirmed by Wang (2007).

Warm and cold colours, cultural differences

Culturally, small variations in the choice of warm and cold colours have been identified. In the Thai survey (Sato, Xin & Hansuebsai, 2003), the cold shades are slightly cooler than the Japanese ones. The Thai warmest colour is a warm orange (red-orange) and the coldest colour a bluish green. The border colours between warm and cold, eg. the transitional nuances between yellow and green gave rise to unclear results.