Color and Light

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Color is a sense which adds excitement and enthusiasm to our lives. When we look at our environment, we see colors everywhere. A world without colors would probably be incredibly unpleasant.

However, we need to know what light is to understand color. When there is no light, no color can be visible. Without light, there is no color. Color is a light effect which can be detected by the eye. We use the word color for each sense created in the eye by the beams reflected by an object after light hits its surface.

Color as a word has its roots in Farsi and in the past has had many meanings, such as dye, blood and shame.

Colors cause different physiological reactions in blood pressure, breathing, digestion, body temperature and brain activity. According to neuro-psychologist Kurt Goldstein even visually challenged people display different physiological reactions to different colors of light due to the dermo-optic vision in their skin. It has been observed that color blind and blindfolded people can differentiate between colors and shapes in the studies conducted. The electromagnetic wavelengths below red (infrared, radio waves) and wavelengths beyond purple (ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma rays) are known to have physiological effects. There is evidence regarding the effects the visible electromagnetic waves have on our health. This evidence has been obtained in studies conducted with melatonin and serotonin. These hormones are released by the pituitary gland in the brain. Studies have shown that some parts of the brain react not only to the light but also to different wavelengths (colors). Different colors interact in varied ways with the endocrine system to stimulate or suppress hormone release.

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The effect that light and color used in schools have on children must also be a consideration due to the fact that children spend most of their time at school after their homes.

Illumination is one of the most important characteristics of a classroom. It makes visualization of many elements possible. (Fielding, 2000; Lyons, 2003) Creating the appropriate visual environment for learning materials requires emphasis. The visual environment affects the competency of the student to perceive visual stimuli, as well as his opinions, thoughts, behavior and performance. Dunn (1985) insisted that illumination in a school is one of the most effective determining factors of the entire education system. The effects of good illumination have psychological connotations other than being aesthetic. Luckiesh and Moss (1940) discovered that the test results of 5th and 6th grade students were better when teaching is done in a well illuminated classroom instead of a poorly illuminated one. According to Phillips (1997), there is a direct relationship between illumination and the performance of the student. On the other hand, according to Rouner (1982), illumination is exceedingly important to the extent that its brightness is required to be increased in orientation to seasonal mood changes. Bad lighting leads to feelings of uneasiness and discomfort.

Natural light gives comfort to students, increases their concentration and reduces hyperactivity in children. (Dunn and Dunn, 1993; Brand, Dunn & Greb, 2002)

There are studies on how daylight improves academic performance. In studies conducted on the relationship between light and academic performance with the participation of thousands of children, scientists observed that better progress was made in mathematics and reading in classrooms with more daylight. (Lyons, 2003)