Meaning of the color purple in psychology

Purple is an intense color resulting from the union of red and blue and represents the conjunction of the force of the first with the stillness of the second. This color, in effect, is the result of the mixture of two contrasting, almost opposite tones, a characteristic that gives it a multitude of meanings: it is the color of transformation, mystery, constant search, sometimes also suffering. Depending on its shades, it can evoke different sensations, all subject to individual interpretation. Jung defined purple, the color that is "between the human and the divine, the union of two natures." With this article from we will discover together the meaning of the color purple in psychology.

What does the color purple mean

Purple is the meeting of two diametrically opposed colors both for their physiological and psychological meaning. The penetrating and active force of red is muffled by the satisfying calm of blue. Therefore the stimulus is ambiguous. You can think of purple as a precision balance where one plate measures the sedative effect of blue on the parasympathetic, and the other plate measures each oscillation of red and its exciting action. Basically, purple shows awareness.

From a psychological point of view, the lilac color expresses delicacy, aesthetic sensitivity and magical thinking. Sexuality (red) fades and is transformed through blue into seduction, into an aesthetic dimension. Purple represents the transition between the two opposite colors blue and red and the achievement of the harmony of these two produces what N. Cusano calls "coincidentia oppositorum" and the highest level corresponds to mystical intuition. Also Levy-Bruhl, in his anthropological studies on tribal religions, was able to verify that purple is the color of magical identification and mystical participation.

The shape of purple is that of a rhombus (penetrating aspects of red) by rounded sides (regressive and welcoming aspects of blue) that is distinguished by its harmony and balance.

Interpretations of the color purple

Purple has been seen as the preferred color for people with hormonal and endocrinological disorders, including women throughout pregnancy and lactation included. If purple is naturally preferred in girls, the exaggerated option of this color in adulthood can indicate childishness, suggestiveness, seductive aspects, emotional lability and hypersensitivity. The rejection of purple indicates a blockage of one's own sensitivity for fear of having to give up one's independence or for fear of exposing one's self to greater vulnerability. The rejection of purple is often accompanied by a susceptible and egocentric attitude, little inclined to empathy, sensitivity and identification.

The meaning of purple color in cultures

Culture also influences the meaning given to the color purple. Let's see the meaning of the color violet in each context:

  • What does the color purple mean in the spiritual? Purple is associated with mystery, mysticism, penance, the unconscious, secrecy, superstition, melancholy, death, fear, piety, frustration, fasting, fascination, to humility, to dream and magic.
  • In Christianity, the lilac color is linked to repentance, atonement, and recollection. Its primary colors, united in equal parts, represent wisdom and love. Indeed, on ancient paintings of the Passion of Christ, the Savior has been represented with a purple cloak. It is also an ecclesial color used during the Advent meditation period, which prepares for the feast of Christmas and Lent, the period of repentance before Easter.
  • In the East, purple is linked to vice and evil, in particular in Japan it evokes sin and fear and that is why its use in marriages is prohibited.
  • In Venezuela and Turkey, the color purple is associated with mourning.
  • Purple is the seventh Chakra energy center.
  • A sociological analysis shows that violet is one of the least appreciated colors by people.

The color purple in neuromarketing

Purple in neuromarketing evokes mystery, spirituality, vanity, fantasy, magic, wisdom, fashion, success and luxury, and for this reason it is used in the cosmetics sector, especially perfumes and fashion (in general for women ), in the recreational sector, in the ecclesiastical sector, in the sector of childhood and communication.

It is advisable to use it to paint the walls of environments in which concentration and solitude are needed because it seems that it helps to free oneself from anguish and immerse oneself, which is why it is useful in writers' or student rooms. For the same reason, it is inadvisable in living rooms, such as living rooms and kitchens.

In the professional field, it seems that it is the color that inspires respect and institutionality and therefore could be used for medical and legal studies. In addition, it seems to be ideal in the bedrooms of couples in crisis because it would help to regain serenity and awaken desire.

The color purple in feminism

Red and blue are the colors of sexual difference : their mixture awakens in women a sense of emancipation and the will not to be considered only in their feminine part, but as people in their entirety. Precisely for this reason the color purple is effective to become a symbolic spokesperson for the instances of the feminist movement.

This is where the term "purplewashing" was born: the prefix "purple" is associated with the belief of feminism while the verb "wash" is used to denounce co-optation strategies that use minority rights to maintain or reinforce structural forms discrimination. In the context of feminism, it is used to describe a variety of political and marketing strategies to promote countries, individuals, businesses, and other organizations through a call for gender equality. The word is also used to criticize how Western countries that have not achieved full gender equality justify it by stressing that other countries or cultures have even a worse quality of life for women.