MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Subject: How can color trigger emotional states ?

Date: Tue Apr 24 06:13:56 2001
Posted by Bernard
Grade level: grad (non-science) School: Universite de Rennes 1 - France
City: RENNES State/Province: No state entered. Country: France
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 988107236.Ns


For almost a century, psychological studies have shown that color could trigger 
arousal and / or emotion. The question is : how can it be ? Explanations for 
activation exist. But what about emotion ? 

In the retina, successive specialized cells process wavelength-related 
information to ganglion cells that project via optic tract to LGN (and up to 
striate - blobs in V1 - and extrastriate areas, of which V4 or V8, according to 
Zeki or Hadjikhani) and to the pulvinar / SC, then to central nucleus of 
amygdala. OK : we got emotional valence through the amygdala nuclei... But, 
apparently, only magnocellular and possibly koniocellular pathways (and they do 
not code for "color", parvocellular pathway does)reach superior colliculus and 
then amygdala nuclei. How, then, could amygdala receive wavelength-related 
information and how could color "trigger" emotional states ? Could
there be a feedback pathway, from V4 / V8 (or even further from the ventral 
route areas) to amygdala ? Wouldn't it be too slow a pathway ? (data is 
processed much faster by retino-tectal route than retino-geniculo-cortical 

Could someone enlight me here ? 

Best regards, 

Bernard Roullet 
Rennes - France

Re: How can color trigger emotional states ?

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