The Power of Color

Color can have powerful meaning. Brides in North America typically wear white. Stop signs are red. Blue represents sadness, as in “I’ve got the blues.” But does colour have the power to affect us physiologically? If so, would it still have the same effect on those who are blind or colour blind?

Drunk Tank Pink

Baker-Miller Pink
Baker-Miller Pink

The pink colour shown here, called “Baker-Miller Pink,” and sometimes referred to as “drunk tank pink,” was shown to have a calming effect on prisoners when their jail cells were painted that colour. But it had to be that very specific colour to be effective.

The approximate RGB and Hex values for this particular shade of pink are:

R:255. G:145. B:175.


Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., who performed the experiments with the color when he was Director of Life Sciences at the American Institute for Biosocial Research, Inc. in Tacoma, Washington, reported that it took a maximum of 15 minutes to reduce violent or aggressive behaviour, and the effects lasted for a minimum of 30 minutes after the inmate was removed from the cell.

Dr. Schauss believes that a colour’s electromagnetic energy affects the pituitary and pineal glands, and the hypothalamus in the brain. The pituitary and pineal glands are part of the endocrine system, and the endocrine system controls, among other things, emotional responses such as aggression.

Dr. Schauss found that heart rate, pulse, and respiration could be reduced through the use of this pink colour, and even demonstrated that colour could have a physiological effect on the colour-blind.

Colour for the Colour-Blind

US Flag
US Flag

The image shown here depicts a flag as seen by people with varying degrees of colour blindness (E. W. Scripture, 1895):

As this image demonstrates, colour-blind people will not see colour the way everyone else sees it. Would this mean that they cannot benefit from colour the way most people can? What about blind people?

Harold Wohlfarth, a photobiologist at the University of Alberta, experimented with the physiological effects of colour. He found that light influenced blood pressure and pulse in blind children identically to sighted children, and maintains that light colours can cause neurotransmitter reactions in the brain. Note that in the experiment, there were two blind children and seven sighted children participating.

Hearing is Seeing

Other studies in China and Russia indicate that there are people who can use different parts of their bodies to see colours. Some people claim to be able to hear colours, with different musical notes corresponding to different colours. On the flip side, the boy in the following documentary sees through sound, since he lost his eyes to cancer:


Truly, colour has a powerful impact on our lives, whether we are aware of it or not, whether we can see it or not.


Gruson, Lindsay. (1992, October 19). “Color Has a Powerful Effect on Behavior, Researchers Assert“. The New York Times

Schauss, Alexander G. “The Physiological Effect of Color on the Suppression of Human Aggression: Research on Baker-Miller Pink

Wood, Betty. (1992). The Healing Power of Color. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute advice from your physician or health-care professional. Before beginning any health or diet program, consult your physician