Effect of Light and Color on Subjective Evaluative Impressions by the Elderly: Implications for Creating Nurturing and Aesthetically Pleasing Interior Environments

By Asha L. Hegde.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

By 2030, there will be approximately 71 million Americans over age 65. An age-related change in the crystalline lens of the eye affects the ability of the older individuals to see colors at lower saturations such as pastels, and to discriminate between colors. How older adults perceive color effects their morale, appetite and overall sense of well being. This study focuses on the subjective impressions of saturation based colors made by a sample of elderly. Sixty elderly subjects (65- 90years) participated in an experiment that examined how the aging eye, with its visual limitations, perceives four colors (red, green, blue and purple), of different saturation (high, medium, low), under 2 light sources (warm white and cool white) in terms of subjective evaluative impressions. In this study ‘subjective impression’ is assessed as the perceptual experience of 4 dimensions (like, pleasant, beautiful and satisfying). Results indicate that across all hues the subjects rated colors at the highest saturation as the ‘most liked, ‘most pleasant’, ‘most beautiful’ and ‘most satisfying’. Also, results indicate that the elderly perceive high saturation colors as more pleasing and beautiful compared to low saturation colors, generally. Results also reveal that in instances where a significant relationship was observed between light and saturation-based color level, subjects ranked colors at the highest saturation level most favorable under cool white light and ranked colors at the middle saturation level most favorably under warm white light. Practitioners—designers, architects, environmentalist, and gerontologist can consider the results of this study and make informed decisions about appropriate color specifications for elderly clients to create interior environments such as health care, nursing homes, adult daycare and retirement homes that are nurturing and aesthetically pleasing.

Keywords: Light, Color, Hue, Elderly, Aging Eye, Color Perception, Light and Color, Color Impressions, Color for Elderly

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 776.614KB).

Dr. Asha L. Hegde

Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA

Asha L. Hegde, Ph.D, RID, LC, is an Assistant Professor of Interior Design and Lighting, in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences at Texas State University-San Marcos. Hegde focuses her research on the effects of light and color on individual’s health and behavior and overall well being of user within the interior environment—specifically the older adult. Her research papers regarding effects of light and color on the aging eye appear in the Research Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences as well as in Journal of Applied Gerontology. She is also a certified lighting designer and a registered interior designer in the State of Texas who specializes in architectural lighting.