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ESL/EFL Lesson Plan – Colour Psychology

This ESL Lesson Plan Contains:

  • Warm up questions.
  • Reading.
  • Vocabulary Match and Synonyms.
  • Reading Comprehension questions.
  • Discussion questions.
  • Idioms and Expressions.
  • Gap fill.
  • Mingling activity.
  • Answers

Level: Intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced.

Time: 1.30-2 hours

ESL Lesson Plan - Colour Psychology

Source

Warm Up

Before reading the article have your students brainstorm what adjectives they would associate with the following colours. Write them on a piece of paper.

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Purple
  • Green
  • Black
  • White
  • Grey

Reading Section - Colour Psychology

So, what is it?

Colour Psychology is a new field of science which asserts that colours can have a deep impact on our behaviour, perceptions and humour. For instance, red is the colour of blood, which makes us think of life and death, but it is also the colour that is associated with power and aggression.

Advocates of colour psychology maintain that wearing red can influence your hormones, physiology and performance in sports. But how exactly can our perception of colours make us perform better?

Red - The colour of champions

In 2004 psychologists at the university of Durham carried out research on the boxing, tae kwon do and wrestling matches of the 2004 Olympics, sports where competitors were randomly assigned either blue or red outfits. They noticed that fighters wearing red won significantly more matches.

Another study showed that in football matches during the penalty kicks, the players were more likely to miss a goal if the goalkeeper wore a red jersey. In 2009 German scientists changed the colour of the uniforms digitally in playbacks and asked the judges to rate the competitors. Those in red were consistently rated higher. Simply wearing red did not make them better athletes, but it influenced the judges' perception of the contestant.

The most attractive colour

It seems that wearing red not only enhances athletic performance, but it also makes things more valuable. Brett Gorvy, the chairman at world famous auction house Christie's, has declared it as “the most lucrative colour”, as paintings in red sell at a much higher price than others.

In other experiments, scientists found that the colour red makes people more desirable. Women and men who wore red outfits were voted more attractive than when wearing different shades. Fashion experts recommend wearing red ties to project authority at work and waitresses get bigger tips from men when they wear red.

The reason why we may be captivated by this colour is that red skin indicates health and fitness and those characteristics may be transferred unto us from the clothes we wear. In the primate world, red skin is a sign of dominance and strength and the redder the face, the stronger the opponent.

And what about the other colours?

Though red probably has the most interesting effect on people, the other colours also have an unusual influence. When patients were given placebos, they discovered that warm-coloured pills worked better as stimulants and cool-coloured pills worked better as depressants.

And let's not forget about the colour pink, which is being used in some prisons in Switzerland to make inmates less aggressive (prisoners calm down in about 15 minutes according to the prison officials).

Interestingly, in England, after painting London's Blackfriar Bridge green, suicides decreased by 34%.

Whilst over in the United States, green is associated with money and is believed to encourage consumer spending, but blue-green is linked to mould and is therefore not recommended as a colour for restaurants.

Underline All the Words Below in the Text, Then Match Them to the Definitions

physiology
Replaying a video or audio clip
asserts
A furry fungus that grows on food
playbacks
A branch of biology which studies how living organism function
perception
Attract and hold the attention of somebody
enhances
Awareness of something
captivated
A drug that raises the level of nervous activity
placebos
Medicine that has no therapeutic effect and is used in drug trials
stimulants
State a fact or a belief confidently
depressants
A drug that reduces nervous activity
mould
Improve the quality of something
Source

Reading Comprehension Questions

  1. Did some of the colour psychology experiments take place in a field?
  2. Why did the psychologists specifically study wrestling, boxing and tae kwon do?
  3. Why did athletes perform better when wearing red?
  4. What distracted football players?
  5. Why do scientists think we are more attractive when we wear red?
  6. Prisoner become angry when placed in pink cells. True or false?
  7. Some shades of green can disgust potential customers. True or false?

Synonyms

Underline the words from the article.
Then match the word to its synonym
Can you think of another word or expression?
Advocates
prisoners
 
Humour
profitable
 
Penalty
mood
 
Rate
bonus
 
Tip
supporters
 
Lucrative
assess
 
Inmates
punishment
 
Source

ESL/EFL Lesson Plan - Discussion

  1. After reading the article and thinking about the uniform colours of some sports' teams, do you think red is a winning shade?
  2. Do you think people are more attractive in red?
  3. Why do you think the colour of the medication had an effect on the patients?
  4. How would you feel if you had to spend a night in a prison that looked like a young girl's bedroom?
  5. Did you ever walk into a room and feel affected by it? Describe where you were and what it looked like.
  6. Do you think we all see the same colours?
  7. Do you know anyone who is colour blind? How do you think they feel?
  8. People who have a particularly heightened sensitivity to colour are called tetrachromats. Someone with this condition would see a pebble pathway with many shades and colours, whereas most people would only see dull greys. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being so sensitive to colour.
  9. Most people choose blue as their favourite colour. Do you agree? Think of some things that are blue across the world.
  10. In your country what colour is worn at a funeral?
  11. Do the colours in your flag have any symbolic meaning?
  12. Describe the most and least relaxing room in your home/work/school. Do you think it has to do with the colours?
  13. Would you buy a large appliance, computer or car without being able to choose the colour?
  14. Do you think you will remember the results of these experiments in the future? In which scenario?

Idioms and Expressions

Put the correct colour into the gap and then match it to the definition.

Then put the colour idioms and expressions into the gaps in the correct form.

  • Someone from an aristocratic or royal family.
  • To give someone permission to proceed with something.
  • To extort money from someone by threatening him/her.
  • Put someone's name on a list if he/she breaks the rules.
  • Feel sad and depressed.
  • To be in debt.
  • To be extremely angry.
  • Jealousy.
  • To cover up the faults of something.
  • Cowardly.


  1. _______mail
  2. _______list
  3. _______ blood
  4. Feel _______
  5. See _______
  6. Give the _______ light
  7. In the _______
  8. _______wash something
  9. _______ belly
  10. _______ -eyed monster

Gap Fill

  1. He has a gambling problem and now he is seriously ___________.
  2. When I got back from travelling the world I felt a little ________.
  3. If you don't repay the money, the credit card companies will ____________ you.
  4. My colleague is such a ___________. She's always complaining at work about the conditions, but at the monthly meetings she never says anything.
  5. They were ____________ Jim for years because he was having an affair and didn't want his wife to find out. They got thousands out of him.
  6. The politicians are trying to __________ the recent corruption scandal.
  7. We were ______________ to finish the project when the new funding came in.
  8. When she told me she had spent the rent money, I just __________.
  9. All the ____________ were invited to the Kate and William's wedding.
  10. Beware of the ____________ when you see your ex at the party!

Source

ESL/EFL Speaking – Mingling Activity

Hand out this survey to your students. They should mingle around the room and take down their colleagues' responses. Discuss the results at the end.

  1. What colour do you associate with intelligence?
  2. What colour do you associate with nausea?
  3. What colour do you associate with happiness?
  4. What colour do you associate with wealth?
  5. What colour do you associate with religion?
  6. What colour do you associate with badness?
  7. What colour do you associate with goodness?
  8. What colour do you associate with powerfulness?
  9. What colour do you associate with style?
  10. What colour do you associate with death?
  11. What colour do you associate with poverty?
  12. What colour do you associate with luck?
  13. What colour do you associate with attractiveness?
  14. What colour do you associate with family?

Answers to ESL/EFL Lesson Plan - Colour Psychology

Article adapted from this article.

Answers to Comprehension Questions

  1. No
  2. Because they are sports where the uniform is randomly assigned.
  3. Because the judges' perception of the players had changed.
  4. Goalkeepers who wore red jerseys.
  5. Because red signals health and by extension our clothes could be signalling wellness.
  6. False.
  7. True.

Vocabulary Match

  • physiology-A branch of biology which studies how living organism function.
  • asserts-State a fact or a belief confidently.
  • playbacks -Replaying a video or audio clip.
  • perception-Awareness of something.
  • enhances-Improve the quality of something.
  • captivated-Attract and hold the attention of somebody.
  • placebos-Medicine that has no therapeutic effect and is used in drug trials.
  • stimulants-A drug that raises the level of nervous activity.
  • depressants-A drug that reduces nervous activity.
  • mould -A furry fungus that grows on food.

Underline the words from the article. Then match the word to its synonym

  • Advocates-supporters
  • humour -mood
  • penalty-punishment
  • rate -assess
  • tip-bonus
  • lucrative-profitable
  • inmates-prisoners

Idioms and expressions

  1. Blackmail - To extort money from someone by threatening him/her.
  2. Blacklist - Put someone's name on a list if he/she breaks the rules.
  3. Blue blood - Someone from an aristocratic or royal family.
  4. Feel blue - Feel sad and depressed.
  5. See red -To be extremely angry.
  6. Give the green light -To give someone permission to proceed with something.
  7. In the red - To be in debt.
  8. Whitewash something -To cover up the faults of something.
  9. Yellow belly - Cowardly.
  10. Green-eyed monster - Jealousy.

Now put the colour idioms and expressions into the gaps in the correct form.

  1. He has a gambling problem and now he is seriously in the red.
  2. When I got back from travelling the world I felt a little blue.
  3. If you don't repay the money the credit card companies will blacklist you.
  4. My colleague is such a yellow belly. She's always complaining at work about the conditions, but at the monthly meetings she never says anything.
  5. They were blackmailing Jim for years because he was having an affair and didn't want his wife to find out. They got thousands out of him.
  6. The politicians are trying to whitewash the recent corruption scandal.
  7. We were given the green light to finish the project when the new funding came in.
  8. When she told me she had spent the rent money, I just saw red.
  9. All the blue bloods were invited to the Kate and William's wedding.
  10. Beware of the green-eyed monster when you see your ex at the party!

© 2015 Muttface

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johntrade profile image

johntrade 4 weeks ago

Thanks for nice inform about this...the sound is great!

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