Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Concept Presentation

Intended to be a full visual presentation, all information on screen are presentator notes.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Colour Research

Colour Theory 1.0

Psychologists believe that colours affect human moods and emotions. In order to give users a psychological experience we must have an understanding of how the mind perceives colour and how we can best use it invoke the desired emotion we want;

RED. Physical
Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, 'fight or flight', stimulation, masculinity, excitement.

Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.

Being the longest wavelength, red is a powerful colour. Although not technically the most visible, it has the property of appearing to be nearer than it is and therefore it grabs our attention first. Hence its effectiveness in traffic lights the world over. Its effect is physical; it stimulates us and raises the pulse rate, giving the impression that time is passing faster than it is. It relates to the masculine principle and can activate the "fight or flight" instinct. Red is strong, and very basic. Pure red is the simplest colour, with no subtlety. It is stimulating and lively, very friendly. At the same time, it can be perceived as demanding and aggressive.

BLUE. Intellectual.
Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.
Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.

Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently it is serene and mentally calming. It is the colour of clear communication. Blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones. Time and again in research, blue is the world's favourite colour. However, it can be perceived as cold, unemotional and unfriendly.

YELLOW. Emotional
Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.
Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.

The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our "yellow streak" can surface.

GREEN. Balance
Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace.
Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.

Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is the colour of balance - a more important concept than many people realise. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used, will be perceived as being too bland.

VIOLET. Spiritual
Positive: Spiritual awareness, containment, vision, luxury, authenticity, truth, quality.
Negative: Introversion, decadence, suppression, inferiority.

The shortest wavelength is violet, often described as purple. It takes awareness to a higher level of thought, even into the realms of spiritual values. It is highly introvertive and encourages deep contemplation, or meditation. It has associations with royalty and usually communicates the finest possible quality. Being the last visible wavelength before the ultra-violet ray, it has associations with time and space and the cosmos. Excessive use of purple can bring about too much introspection and the wrong tone of it communicates something cheap and nasty, faster than any other colour.

Positive: Physical comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance, fun.
Negative: Deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity.

Since it is a combination of red and yellow, orange is stimulating and reaction to it is a combination of the physical and the emotional. It focuses our minds on issues of physical comfort - food, warmth, shelter etc. - and sensuality. It is a 'fun' colour. Negatively, it might focus on the exact opposite - deprivation. This is particularly likely when warm orange is used with black. Equally, too much orange suggests frivolity and a lack of serious intellectual values.

Positive: Physical tranquility, nurture, warmth, femininity, love, sexuality, survival of the species.
Negative: Inhibition, emotional claustrophobia, emasculation, physical weakness.

Being a tint of red, pink also affects us physically, but it soothes, rather than stimulates. (Interestingly, red is the only colour that has an entirely separate name for its tints. Tints of blue, green, yellow, etc. are simply called light blue, light greenetc.) Pink is a powerful colour, psychologically. It represents the feminine principle, and survival of the species; it is nurturing and physically soothing. Too much pink is physically draining and can be somewhat emasculating.

Positive: Psychological neutrality.
Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.

Pure grey is the only colour that has no direct psychological properties. It is, however, quite suppressive. A virtual absence of colour is depressing and when the world turns grey we are instinctively conditioned to draw in and prepare for hibernation. Unless the precise tone is right, grey has a dampening effect on other colours used with it. Heavy use of grey usually indicates a lack of confidence and fear of exposure.

Positive: Sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, substance.
Negative: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness.

Black is all colours, totally absorbed. The psychological implications of that are considerable. It creates protective barriers, as it absorbs all the energy coming towards you, and it enshrouds the personality. Black is essentially an absence of light, since no wavelengths are reflected and it can, therefore be menacing; many people are afraid of the dark. Positively, it communicates absolute clarity, with no fine nuances. It communicates sophistication and uncompromising excellence and it works particularly well with white. Black creates a perception of weight and seriousness. 

Suggested Colour Pallets;

Suicidal thoughts








Psychological Effects of Solitary Confinement

“[Solitary confinement] units are virtual incubators of
psychoses--seeding illness in otherwise healthy inmates
and exacerbating illness in those already suffering from
mental infirmities.”
—Ruiz v. Johnson (2001) (1)

Solitary confinement is when a prisoner is put in a cell for twenty three to twenty four hours a day without contact to any other human, for weeks/months and even years on end.

It’s a standard psychiatric concept, if you put people in
isolation, they will go insane…. It’s a big problem in the
California system, putting large numbers in the SHUs…
Most people in isolation will fall apart.” 
— Sandra Schank, staff psychiatrist, Mule Creek Prison (2)

Research has been carried out over the years on solitary confinement patients and it has shown that being left in isolation does alter neural and therefore psychological states. Research shows that even a week in solitary confinement raises stress levels, tension and anxiety. Self-mutilation (self - harm and even suicide) is very common amongst Solitary confinement prisoners.

A 2007 study examining  attempted suicide in the prison
system identified solitary confinement as a major factor in
suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
"I started hearing voices and losing control of my own
thoughts...I really started noticing more when I started
being in the hole...It just started getting worse for me."
—Participant 22 (3)

A prisoner left in Solitary confinement induces a specific psychiatric disorder characterized by: hypersensitivity to external stimuli, hallucinations, panic attacks, cognitive deficits, obsessive thinking, paranoia, and impulse control problems. This leads to high rates of anxiety, nervousness, obsessive ruminations, anger, violent fantasies, nightmares, trouble sleeping, as well as dizziness, perspiring hands, and heart palpitations.

Hypersensitivity to external stimuli:

This is when a person becomes sensitive or highly agitated by external factors which can include, sound, smell, light and taste.   


Hallucinations are false or distorted sensory experiences that appear to be real perceptions. These sensory impressions are generated by the mind rather than by any external stimuli, and may be seen, heard, felt, and even smelled or tasted.

Panic attacks:

Panic attacks are periods of intense fear or apprehension that are of sudden onset and of variable duration of minutes to hours. Panic attacks usually begin abruptly, may reach a peak within 10 minutes, but may continue for much longer if the sufferer had the attack triggered by a situation from which they are not able to escape. In panic attacks that continue unabated, and are triggered by a situation from which the sufferer desires to escape, some sufferers may make frantic efforts to escape, which may be violent if others attempt to contain the sufferer.

Cognitive deficits:

Cognitive deficit, also known as cognitive impairment is an inclusive term to describe any characteristic that acts as a barrier to cognitive performance. The term may describe deficits in global intellectual performance, such as mental retardation, it may describe specific deficits in cognitive abilities (learning disorders, dyslexia), or it may describe drug-induced cognitive/memory impairment, such as that seen with alcohol and the benzodiazepines. Cognitive deficits may be congenital or caused by environmental factors such as brain injuries, neurological disorders, or mental illness

Obsessive thinking:

Obsessions are a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Obsessions are defined as recurring, persistent thoughts, impulses, and/or images that are viewed as intrusive and inappropriate. Obsessions often cause considerable distress and anxiety.


A mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.

Impulse Control Disorder:

An impulse control disorder or ICD is a class of psychiatric disorders characterised by impulsivity – failure to resist a temptation, urge or impulse that may harm oneself or others. Many psychiatric disorders feature impulsivity, including substance-related disorders, paraphilias, antisocial personality disorder, conduct disorder, schizophrenia and mood disorders.

1. Human Rights Watch (2003), Ill-Equipped: U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness 149 n. 513 (New York: Human Rights Watch)
2. Ruiz v Johnson, 154 F.Supp.2d 975 (S.D.Tex.2001).
3. Suto, I. (2007), Inmates Who Attempted Suicide in Prison: A Qualitative Study.‖ School of Professional Psychology. Paper 46.

Audio and the Human Mind


Infrasound is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 Hz (Hertz) or cycles per second, the "normal" limit of human hearing. Hearing becomes gradually less sensitive as frequency decreases, so for humans to perceive infrasound, thesound pressure must be sufficiently high. The ear is the primary organ for sensing infrasound, but at higher levels it is possible to feel infrasound vibrations in various parts of the body.

One study has suggested that infrasound may cause feelings of awe or fear in humans. It was also suggested that since it is not consciously perceived, it can make people feel vaguely that supernatural events are taking place.

Exposure to infrasound has been demonstrated to effect recipients with symptoms including fear, sorrow, depression, anxiety, nausea, chest pressure and hallucination. It can cause objects to move through vibration and some believe the body’s internal organs can be effected. It is suggested that levels above 80 decibels at frequencies between 0.5 to 10Hz may start to effect the vestibular of the inner ear thus causing disorientation. Any high volume sound can trigger the body to react by increasing respiration, heart rate and blood pressure, but when they cannot actually hear the sound recipients are left with no explanation for the sudden onset of these symptoms.

Binaural beats

Binaural beats or binaural tones are auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain for specific physical stimuli.

Our brain pulses and vibrates like everything in this Universe. The brain pulse is measured like sound in cycles per second or Hertz. The machine used to make the measure is called an ElectroEncephaloGraph (EEG). While this machine has its limitation, we can still use it to categorize brain activity with more or less accuracy

Frequency range
Usually associated with:
> 40 Hz
Gamma waves
Higher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, fear, and consciousness
13–39 Hz
Beta waves
Active, busy or anxious thinking and active concentration, arousal, cognition, and or paranoia
7–13 Hz
Alpha waves
Relaxation (while awake), pre-sleep and pre-wake drowsiness, REM sleep, Dreams
8–12 Hz
Mu waves
Sensorimotor rhythm Mu_rhythm, Sensorimotor_rhythm
4–7 Hz
Theta waves
deep meditation/relaxation, NREM sleep
< 4 Hz
Delta waves
Deep dreamless sleep, loss of body awareness