Human brain activity and emotional responses to plant color stimuli

Hye Sook Jang, Jongyun Kim, Ki Seong Kim, Chun Ho Pak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated how color stimuli that consisted of green foliage plants (Epipremnum aureum) with same sized area of Kalanchoe spp. plants with four different flower colors (white, yellow, pink, and red; Kalanchoe spp.) on a dark green background influenced the brain waves and emotions of 30 undergraduate students. Electroencephalography tests were performed in order to monitor the brain-wave responses in the prefrontal, frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes in response to the different plant color stimuli. Fourteen pairs of adjectives on the semantic differential scale were used to measure emotional changes. A statistical analysis showed that all of the color stimuli correlated with some emotional keywords and physiological responses. Green plants (E.aureum) produced more positive attitudes, and brain functions were more active compared to those observed after the participants were exposed to white, yellow, pink, or red flowers on a green background. In addition, when participants looked at the green plants, the relative fast alpha power spectrum increased, indicating the involvement of improved concentration, creativity, and attention. However, optical stimuli from the yellow flowers had a positive effect on the parietal and occipital lobes, producing a high relative theta power spectrum and indicating that concentration was improved and that the subjects were happier. The choice of adjectives and the EEG patterns were weakly but significantly correlated. These results may have practical applications because green plants can be used in places where comfort and high concentration are required, plants with white and yellow flowers can be used to make a place more pleasant, and red flowering plants can be used to create a luxurious environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalColor Research and Application
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun


  • attention
  • concentration
  • frontal lobe occipital lobe
  • parietal lobe
  • physiology
  • prefrontal lobe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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