If you look closely -- very closely -- at your computer monitor, you will see that each pixel is made up of three cells. One cell illuminates in red, another in green and the third in blue. This is sometimes referred to as an RGB monitor. By varying the amount of each of these colors, the human eye can be tricked to see a spectrum of colors, including white and black.
The human eye has color receptors called cones. It also has three sets which correspond to the red, blue and green light that fall on the retina. These three colors are called primary colors and the perception of colors resulting from their combinations are called secondary colors.
Because these primary colors occur frequently in nature, they have corresponding psychological properties that can change our behavior and emotions. Some of these will be discussed below:
Because our blood is red, this color attracts our attention the most. It can indicate an injury to our bodies but can also mean that other re-blooded creatures have been injured or killed, signaling danger.
The psychological value of red is associated with fear, anger, danger, heightened awareness, and increased sexual energy. This is apparent in our language. If we are angry we "see red"; if we are in financial danger (debt) we are "in the red"; if we are caught doing something bad we say we have been "caught red handed"; prostitutes typically inhabit a "red light zone". But red can also signify status and is the choice color of kings, bishops and cardinals, and dignitaries are welcomed with a "red carpet."
Red is the color that is traditionally given to the lowest chakra, or energy vortex in the human body. Located at the base of the spine, the kundalini is thought of as a snake which rises and energizes the other six chakras.
Being in a red painted room has a confining effect as red appears closer to the observer than other colors. It also has been shown to make the heart beat faster and to promote the release of adrenaline. Fashion designers know that primary red is a power color, demanding respect and drawing out the aggressive personality traits of the wearer.
In the art of Feng Shui, red symbolizes the South, wealth, the pheonix who rises from the ashes and is red is a perennial symbol of good luck. During Chinese New Year, or TeT, gifts of cash are often given inside a red envelope.
It's no surprise that many fruits and vegetables use red to alert humans and animals that they are ripe and ready for eating. In this way they spread their seeds and propogate.
Variations of Red
Magenta -- Psychologically magenta is favored by arbitrators who find it distressing to tolerate indecision in others. The individuals who favor this color are good at holding in their feelings and they often appear shy, but they are remarkably patient.
Crimson -- People who favor crimson are strong and very determined individuals. They have strong goals and avoid strife with the motto "live and let live." The only time they will strike out at others in when their own personal freedom or goal is threatened.
Scarlet -- A person who prefers scarlet is one who enjoys life to the fullest. These individuals usually live according to their own rules and often do not follow the traditional norms. They avoid boring people and always try to experience the maximum fun and excitement from any endeavor.
Pink -- The Western culture has made pink a feminine color, stressing vulnerability and child-like emotions. But pink also symbolizes the gentle side of human nature, health, abundance and youth.
Joe Arpaio, the self-styled "toughest sherrif in America" believes that pink has a pchologically calming effect. He has made all of his county's prisoners wear pink -- including recently sentenced ex-Heavy Weight boxer, Mike Tyson, who spent time in his facility for drunk driving and related drug charges. Although many prisoners complain that pink is a "sissy color" when worn by men, Sherrif Arpaio claims that the color helps prisoners calm down and contemplate the reasons that got them improsoned.