The Psychology of Color Black: Symbolism and Impact
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The Psychology of Color Black: Symbolism and Impact


Everyone has a favourite colour that makes them feel better and influences their mood, but that colour doesn’t necessarily evoke the same feelings in others. This principle holds for black, although it is not classified as a colour in the physics streams. Unlike other colours, black elicits distinct emotions that can range from positive to negative. Let’s delve into the psychological world of black. 

Colour Psychology  

Colour psychology delves into how various colours impact human emotions and behaviours. It explains how colours can change emotional responses and how they are shaped by factors such as age and cultural background. In colour psychology, the emotional response to colours is greatly influenced by personal preferences and experience with those colours for example, the colour blue might evoke positive feelings in you, but it may not have the same effects on your friend because the history behind the different feelings of the same colour might not be the same. But the impact of a few colours has intrinsic significance. For example, warm colours like red and the neighbouring colours on the spectrum are associated with anger.  

Association of the colour black: 

The colour black might have a wide range of emotions. The culture, society, and personal experiences influence the perception of the colour black. Unlike other colours, black is always quite controversial. It represents mourning in some cultures, and elegance and power in others. 

1. Dominance and Authority 

Black often symbolizes dominance and authority, as seen in TV shows and movies where CEOs, villains, and leaders often wear black or are shown in black settings. This constant exposure reinforces black as a colour of power. Even in childhood stories like the Ramayana, negative characters are often shown in black, yet people are drawn to its symbolism of power and confidence. Many choose black clothing and black vehicles to feel more powerful and self-assured.  

2. Protection

The colour black also symbolizes protection, safety, and security. When heads of the government and state leaders appear to the public, accompanied by security personnel and the National Security Guard (NSG) colloquially referred to as black cats. These security figures typically dressed in attire featuring black themes, further emphasizing their role in safeguarding the leaders they protect. The black colour not only communicates and is associated with safety and protection but also the sense of assurance and professionalism in ensuring public safety. 

Read More: The Power of Autonomy: Why It Matters in Psychology

3. Elegance

Black has its own space in the fashion world and we can pair anything with black, cool right? Black is often considered sophisticated and competent. People who wear black are perceived as more serious, capable, and reliable. In psychology, clothing and colour are often related to mood regulations. For a few individuals, wearing black is desired sophistication, simplicity, and a classic that is associated with elegance. And this perception is always reinforced by the media and influencers. 

4. Darkness 

In some cultures, parents won’t let their children wear black, especially at festivals or ceremonies. Though black symbolizes protection and authority, it is often seen as evil and dark in many cultures and mythologies, evoking fear and danger. The absence of light makes black instinctually provoke fear. Different cultures have distinct views on black and white, with black seen as evil and white as good, shaping our perception of these colours. Black is also linked to dark magic, witchcraft, and the supernatural, reinforcing its dark connotations.

5. Funeral 

In Western culture, wearing black on funerals and mourning has its historical roots and it has been practised by people over the centuries. Black symbolizes the grief, sadness, loss and the void left by their loved ones and the emotional weight of their absence. These cultural practices reinforce the perception that black is associated with sadness and negativity. In Eastern culture, black is considered as the transition between life and death by some religions. These traditions change widely over the different cultures. 

Black: Racism and Stereotypes 

Nowadays, attitudes towards blacks vary widely: some people embrace and appreciate it, while others still associate it with negativity, sin, sadness, evil, and death. Despite lacking inherent negative effects, cultural beliefs, novels, and stories have ingrained these perceptions of blacks. In many cultures, black and white symbolize contrasting concepts of good and evil. For example, in Chinese tradition, yin and yang illustrate this balance: yin, represented by black, symbolizes darkness, passivity, and femininity, whereas yang, represented by white, signifies brightness, activity, and masculinity.

Read More: How Do Colors Affect Our Emotions and Behavior?

The symbolism of black as negative is evident in terms like “blacklist” and “black sleep.” While people may appreciate black attire, there remains a pervasive bias against black skin, with fair skin often idealized as beautiful. Throughout history, racial discrimination has been fueled by the erroneous belief that individuals with darker skin tones are inferior. Girls, in particular, are often pressured to achieve fair skin. Despite increased awareness of discrimination, bullying and bias against individuals with darker skin persist. This highlights a contradiction: black attire is celebrated, but prejudices against black people remain.


1. What psychological meanings are associated with the black colour?  

Black colour often associated with power, authority, sophistication, also mystery, evil, and darkness. 

2. Why black is often associated with mystery and fear?  

The mystery arises from the ability of the colour black to obscure and conceal. Associated  with fear, because of the historical association, the cultural beliefs with darkness and  unknown 

3. Is there is connection between black and power?  

Yes, there is a connection between black and power. Because the leaders and authority  figures often wear black to convey strength and seriousness 

4. How does age impact people’s reactions to the colour black?  

Younger individuals may perceive black as trendy or edgy, while older adults may view it as classic and sophisticated. 

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  • The colcolour black. Empowered by Color. https://www.empower-yourself-with-color 
  • Van Braam, H. (2024, February 15). Black Color Psychology – Black Meaning & Personality.  Color Psychology.

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