We rely on color to keep us safe and to fit into society. Running a red light could kill us. Eating pink chicken could make us sick. Wearing lime green and fuchsia in a conservative work place may raise eyebrows.
Our subconscious is constantly hard at work making the right color choices while our conscious mind is thinking about getting the kids to school or worrying about an important presentation. Our brain searches for color harmony and when we see clash, our brain isn't fooled.
Warm colors may calm one person and excite another. Conversely, cool colors may be stimulating to one person and passive to another.
Many researchers in the field of psychiatry have pointed out some interesting facts about our likes and dislikes for color. In the well known Rorschach test, studies showed that extreme extroverts tend to respond positively to brighter colors, whereas extreme introverts were not open to allowing much color into their life. In the very broad mid-personality spectrum, these individuals do accept color with an open mind.
Color also has the ability to sway the observer's opinion. For example, when male politicians need to project dominance and power, they usually wear a red tie. When they want our trust, they will often choose a blue tie.
In the first presidential debate Romney wore a red tie and President Obama wore a blue tie. I'll be very interested to see what color ties show up in the future debates. It may very well be a contest for the brightest red tie!
In 2006 a controlled study was completed at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City. The study showed that people in a room infused with red light perceived time passing slowly, while time passed more quickly for those in a blue room. This is why designers and architects will often specify cool colors for assembly line factories where monontanous piece work is done.
There are no decorating rules that say every room in your house must be decorated in the same colors. Each room should be evaluated based upon the objective for both tasks as well as emotions.
I have a motto--"when the color is right you will feel it."