Emotional Intelligence and Colours

Terrific clues to the core emotional drives of people are their favourite colours.  As readers of this blog know I am a big fan of the 7MTF/Humm for understanding our core emotions. Chandler Macleod, one of Australia’s leading organisational psychologists, bought the rights to the Humm in the early 1960s and have since tested over 1 million people. In addition, the company has conducted follow-up interviews with over 100,000 of those tested. Over time they noticed that each of the seven components was associated with a dominant colour. This was reflected in dress, discussions about the house or office, and in the colour of their car.  You can see the seven colours on the Practical Emotional Intelligence logo.  Movers prefer yellow, Hustlers red and gold, Politicians blue, Double-checkers brown, and Normals like black, white, and grey. The two most introverted components, the Artist and the Engineer like purple and green respectively.

Then there was the guy who sold fishing tackle. I asked him, “My God, they’re purple and green. Do fish really take these lures?” And he said, “Mister, I don’t sell to fish.”

The joke is good but the subtext is even more interesting.  When you think about it, of all the sports fishing is perhaps the one that most appeals to the introvert; hence you would expect the most popular lure colours to be purple and green.

Google ‘colours and emotions’ and you will get some 12 million hits. So this is a popular topic. For example there is a pseudo-DISC system known as True-Colors which puts in one of four boxes calm blue, good as gold, exciting orange, and logical green.  Another perspective is Edward De Bono’s book Six Thinking Hats  where he suggests we put on different coloured hats when we are thinking about a problem. Assuming we associate each colour with a different emotion, this is a very interesting application of emotional intelligence. Indeed Six Thinking Hats workshops are regularly held in major cities all over the world.

There is only one problem. De Bono’s choice of colours was intuitive and unfortunately in the case of three of the six hats wrong. I discuss these issues in the following article but on the other hand there is an emotional choice to colour which explains why McDonalds has yellow arches, realtors wear red ties, lawyers wear white shirts and grey suits, and large companies often have blue logos.


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Chris Golis - Author


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Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

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