What Looks Lavender But Is Actually Blue?

February 14, 2013 § 1 Comment


February 14, 2013

Have you heard of the Stroop Effect?

stroop

Wikipedia states that “The Stroop effect is a demonstration of interference in the reaction time of a task. When the name of a color (e.g., “blue,” “green,” or “red”) is printed in a color not denoted by the name (e.g., the word “red” printed in blue ink instead of red ink), naming the color of the word takes longer and is more prone to errors than when the color of the ink matches the name of the color.”

I mention the Stroop Effect in reference to the blue rose, Applause, because it actually looks purple.

When we think of blue our minds conjure images of the sky and the sea. Blue is the color of constancy and truth. Yet, as we gaze upon the “blue rose” we see lavender or purple.

Applausebluerose

Blue (or any other color, for that matter) can also hold some deeply rooted cultural associations. For example, in some societies, blue is viewed as a protective color. In the Middle East front doors are painted blue to keep the evil sprits from entering the house while many Native Americans paint the front doors of their dwellings blue for the same reason.

How does this effect our psyche?

When we see the blue rose our minds are registering purple. Purple is the combination of the excitement of red and the tranquility of blue, the marriage of two diametrically opposed emotions.

A critical balancing act always exists. Which emotion takes the lead?

What is your visceral reaction to this blue rose? Are you feeling conflicted by its name and color?

Please enjoy a poem and a song about blue roses.

Blue Roses

Roses red and roses white
Plucked I for my love’s delight.
She would none of all my posies–
Bade me gather her blue roses.

Half the world I wandered through,
Seeking where such flowers grew.
Half the world unto my quest
Answered me with laugh and jest.

Home I came at wintertide,
But my silly love had died
Seeking with her latest breath
Roses from the arms of Death.

It may be beyond the grave
She shall find what she would have.
Mine was but an idle quest–

Roses white and red are best!

Rudyard Kipling

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