Yellow? Depends on Where You Live

Science Fields

Yellow is often associated with happiness and joyous emotions. However, a new study claims this may not be true for everyone.
Scientists wondered about what factors affected the associated feelings, and they investigated how our physical environment affects our feelings about colours. For example, did the Bedouins living in South African deserts shared the same feelings about yellow with the Northmen living in the Norwegian fjords?
Researchers examined the data of a study that involved 6,625 people from 55 different countries in order to make deductions concerning the relationship between colours and emotions. Participants in this ongoing study score the relationship of 12 different colours to different emotions including happiness, joy, fear, and shame.
The team only examined data on the colour yellow, and analysed how different factors affect the emotions triggered or represented by yellow. The factors included climatic conditions like the amount of sunshine, the number of sunny days, and the amount of rainfall. Two important and interesting factors were revealed to affect how yellow makes people feel: the distance of their location from the equator and the annual rainfall.
That is, the farther you live from the equator, the more you like the yellow colour. The tendency to associate yellow with joy is 5.7% in Egypt, while it is 87.7% in Finland. In the middle of the two, for US citizens living in a mild climate, the rate is between 60-70%.
Researchers reported that yellow arouses vibrant and energetic sensations such as happiness and excitement because it usually symbolizes the sun, flowers and summer months.
Araştırmacılar, mevsim değişikliklerini de hesaba katarak, belirli bir ülkede yaşayan insanlar için yaz ve kış ayları arasında herhangi bir fark olup olmadığını da inceledi. Havalar mevsimsel olarak değişse de, sarı renk hakkında beslenen duygu ve düşünceler oldukça sabit.
The team also examined whether there is a difference between summer and winter for people living in a particular country, considering the seasonal changes. Although the weather conditions change with seasons, the emotions and thoughts about the colour yellow seem to be quite constant.

If you would like to participate in the survey, you can fill out the questionnaire here


  • 1. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/what-makes-people-happy-when-skies-are-gray-color-yellow?utm_campaign=news_weekly_2019-10-04&et_rid=527298681&et_cid=3017053
  • 2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494419303469