Created By: MacronNotes on January 16, 2013 Last Edited By: MacronNotes on July 14, 2013
Troped

Colour Coded Emotions

Emotions can be identified by colour, like red (anger, embarrassment) or blue (shyness, sadness, calm), yellow (happiness)

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Page Type:
Trope
Losing him was blue like I'd never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you've never met
But loving him was red
-- Taylor Swift, "Red"

An emotion a character is experiencing can be identified by what colour the character, or whatever they have is or turns in to. A character might turn red when they are angered or embarrassed, yellow when happy, or blue when sad. The background might even change to the same colour the person is. Sometimes, a character will change clothes to reflect what they feeling that particular day. Someone with an Aura Vision might be able to tell what mood another person is in by the colour their aura emits.

The trope is pretty old as the Seven Deadly Sins originally had colors associated with them. Envy is green (yes, that's where the whole Green-Eyed Monster idea came from), Lust is blue (in some languages, a porno is actually called a "blue film" and a horny person is said to have a "blue mind"), Pride is purple (the color of royalty), Wrath is red, Gluttony is yellow and Sloth is light blue.

Here's a list of colours commonly used to identify several emotions:
  • Red: Anger, embarrassment, passionate, and lustful.
  • Blue: Shyness, sad, and calmness.
  • Yellow: Cowardice, happiness, or caution.
  • Green: Disgust, envy, sickness, friendly, or greedy.
  • Grey: Depression and emotionless.
  • Black: Cold or mournful.
  • Pink: Cheery, embarrassed, and love.
  • White: Sick, shocked, scared, cold, and mournful

A subtrope of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. See also Blue with Shock, Colour Failure, High-Pressure Emotion, and Kaleidoscope Eyes.
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
  • In Ah! My Goddess, Belldandy can see Keichi's moods as colored auras.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • The Green Lantern series has the Emotional Spectrum, which associates a specific color to an emotion, and these emotions are what power up the lantern rings. Red is Anger, Orange is Greed, Yellow is Fear, Green is Willpower, Blue is Hope, Indigo is Compassion, and Violet is Love. There is also White and Black, representing Life and Death itself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Films - Animation]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40K: The four Chaos gods are the embodiments of a specific emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is red, Tzeentch (hope) is blue, Slaanesh (desire) is either pink/purple, and Nurgle (despair) is green.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
  • In Fallout 2 with the Empathy perk you see in blue what responses will get a calm reaction, red for anger, and the regular green for neutral.
  • Golden Sun uses little emoticons to represent character's emotions. Red for angry, yellow for happy, and blue for sad.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor, classes that draw their power from rage, glow red when using their 'recovery' move. Jedi doing an equivalent move glow golden or blue instead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
  • Athena from Ace Attorney has a necklace computer that acts as an emotion reader, defaulting to her own emotions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • An episode of the Aladdin TV series had the characters enchanted by colored gemstones which instilled them with corresponding emotions--blue for depression, green for envy, yellow for fear, etc.
  • An episode on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, where Jimmy gets banned in the science fair, features a device that detects emotion through colour and music genre. For instance, when Cindy feels happy, the device shines yellow as it plays a sunny tune; when she spots Jimmy, the colour turns red as the music shifts to heavy metal; and while she feels regret and accidentally puts her hand on the device, it turns blue and plays, well, Blues.
  • Kim Possible: The Moodulator, a device that fully changes emotion, is coded by colour. E.g, purple for random, blue for sadness, pink for love, and red for rage.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
  • Black clothing is typically used to indicate that one is in mourning. The connection of black color and grief is so strong, that wearing anything besides black in a funeral can be taken as a huge insult.
  • Helen Keller used a variant of this to answer questions when she gave lectures. People often asked her, "Can you tell the difference between two colors?" and she would reply "Sometimes I feel blue and sometimes I see red."
  • Chameleons and other color-changing reptiles often do this to reflect their state of calmness, aggression, sexual interest, or fear, not just to blend into the background.
  • Averted with so-called "mood" rings which respond simply to changes in temperature. Nothing else. In fact, the same chemicals are occasionally used for cheap stick-on temperature gauges. They were promoted as "mood" rings on the false assumption that a person's body temperature would rise with increasing relaxation and become lower with tension. They don't work because the body doesn't work like that.
  • As an addition to the placebo effect of taking prescribed (but still placebo) drugs, differently coloured ones subconsciously make the patient feel more calm when blue and more confident/ strong when red.
[[/folder]]


Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • January 17, 2013
    Chabal2
    Golden Sun uses little emoticons to represent character's emotions. Red for angry, yellow for happy, and blue for sad.
  • January 17, 2013
    justanid
    Video Games
    • In Fallout 2 with the Empathy perk you see in [[blue:blue]] what responses will get a calm reaction, [[red:red]] for anger, and the regular [[green:green]] for neutral.
  • January 17, 2013
    Telcontar
    Hellen Keller used a variant of this to answer questions when she gave lectures. People often asked her, "Can you tell the difference between two colors?" and she would reply "Sometimes I feel blue and sometimes I see red."
  • January 17, 2013
    Earnest
    Possible page pic.

    And full markup.

    [[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/EmotionsSuperman_58.jpg]] [[caption-width-right:350:some caption text]]


  • January 18, 2013
    InsomniacWeasel
    The Seven Deadly Sins originally had colors associated with them. Envy is green (yes, that's where the whole Green Eyed Monster idea came from), Lust is blue (in some languages, a porno is actually called a "blue film" and a horny person is said to have a "blue mind"), Pride is purple (the color of royalty), Wrath is red, Gluttony is yellow and Sloth is some other color I can't quite remember right now, I think orange but I could be mistaken.
  • January 19, 2013
    Omeganian
    The Mystery Of The Third Planet had an animal which changed color depending on emotion.

    There is the Emotion Spectrum from the DC Comics.
  • January 19, 2013
    lakingsif
    Chorus of Taylor Swift's Red:
    "Losing him was blue like I'd never known
    Missing him was dark grey all alone
    Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you've never met
    But loving him was red"

    That also makes a good page quote.

    You could add that for the trope, emotions are Colour Coded For Your Convenience.
  • January 19, 2013
    Architect
    Could personalities that are based around a specific emotion count as well? That would allow for a lot more examples, I think, as well as making this trope related to Red Oni Blue Oni.
  • January 19, 2013
    MacronNotes
    ^ I was thinking about broading it to personalities. That might be a good idea.

    ^^ That is a good quote. I'll add it.

    ^x5 That image could work.
  • January 20, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Don't Mood rings work this way?
  • January 20, 2013
    McKathlin
    Western Animation
    • "The Green with Envy Blues", from Disney's The Wonderful World of Color, has lyrics that make heavy use of Color Coded Emotions.
  • January 20, 2013
    SharleeD
    Real Life: Chameleons and other color-changing reptiles often do this to reflect their state of calmness, aggression, sexual interest, or fear, not just to blend into the background.
  • January 21, 2013
    lakingsif
    ^^^ as mood rings change colour depending on your pulse rate and temperature, usually, though the changes in the variables don't always reflect a change in emotions.
  • January 21, 2013
    Architect
    So...name change to Color Coded Personalities ? Or make that a subtrope/sister trope of Color Coded Emotions ?
  • January 21, 2013
    McKathlin
    I think it would be best to keep Color Coded Personalities and Color Coded Emotions as separate tropes.
  • January 21, 2013
    Earnest
    ^Agreed, personality and emotion are different enough to warrant it.
  • January 22, 2013
    Architect
  • January 22, 2013
    Karalora
    An episode of the Aladdin TV series had the characters enchanted by colored gemstones which instilled them with corresponding emotions--blue for depression, green for envy, yellow for fear, etc.
  • January 23, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    Squids are like this in real life.
  • January 25, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    • The Green Lantern series has the Emotional Spectrum, which associates a specific color to an emotion, and these emotions are what power up the lantern rings. Red is Anger, Orange is Greed, Yellow is Fear, Green is Willpower, Blue is Hope, Indigo is Compassion, and Violet is Love. There is also White and Black, representing Life and Death itself.
  • January 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    I hope you don't mind but I added the markup for the Image.
  • January 30, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    An episode of *shudder* Johnny Test had an episode where one of the Teen Geniuses made a potion that uses this trope (and a pattern). it wound up sprayed on the other Teen Genius.
  • January 31, 2013
    troacctid
    Unless you want to restrict this trope to characters who literally change color like living mood rings (which I'd strongly recommend against), the beginning of the description needs an overhaul.
  • January 31, 2013
    Connorses
    I'm truly amazed there isn't a page on colors matching to emotions already, this trope can probably be marked Older Than Feudalism. Troacctid is right though, the intro could be a lot better.

    If there's not a sub-trope of this relating to characters who literally change color, there should be.

    This goes a lot farther than the traditional colors for the Seven Deadly Sins. Clearly the article needs a lot more attention. It hasn't even gotten to the most common ideas such as Red=Anger and Blue=Sadness.
  • January 31, 2013
    NESBoy
    • Among other things, The DCU villain Rainbow Raider can use his Prisma-Goggles to fire emotion rays to alter people's moods. Here's a sampling of their effects: Red = Anger, Yellow = Cowardice, Green = Jealousy, Blue = Sadness.

    Also, can someone familiar with the Superman story "The Rainbow Faces of Superman" (from Action Comics Vol. 1 #317) give the full lowdown on the color-coded emotions depicted in the story? The only references I could find are the cover and these panels, and I assume there's at least a few more that neither of them mention.
  • March 26, 2013
    Thecommander236
    I still agree that mood rings are an example of this as they temperature and pulse rate are affect by emotions.
  • March 27, 2013
    MacronNotes
    Err, can I get help with a better description and intro, please?
  • April 19, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Is this ready to launch yet?
  • April 20, 2013
    MacronNotes
    ^ Well, it needs more examples and issues have been raised about the description.
  • May 25, 2013
    MattStriker
    • In Star Wars The Old Republic the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor, classes that draw their power from rage, glow red when using their 'recovery' move. Jedi doing an equivalent move glow golden or blue instead.
    • Mood rings, anyone?
  • June 15, 2013
    Melkior
    So-called "mood" rings respond simply to changes in temperature. Nothing else. In fact, the same chemicals are occasionally used for cheap stick-on temperature gauges. They were promoted as "mood" rings on the false assumption that a person's body temperature would rise with increasing relaxation and become lower with tension. They don't work because the body doesn't work like that.

    If mood rings are mentioned at all, they need to be mentioned as an aversion.

    Real Life:
    • Averted with so-called "mood" rings, which change color with temperature, not mood. The claim that the rings change color with mood is based on the false assumption that body temperature closely follows mood (it doesn't, or at least not to the extent that a crude device like a ring can reliably detect any difference - ambient temperature has far more effect on the ring's color).
  • June 15, 2013
    m8e
    ^Put that's how they work in real life, not how they are depicted in ficton. Most fictional examples of mood rings probably fit here.
  • June 15, 2013
    Melkior
    ^ True. But the difference from real life needs to be noted.
  • June 19, 2013
    Melkior
    Yellow was often associated with cowardice in the past, especially in comic books and western animation where characters behaving in a blatantly cowardly manner would suddenly either change color (literally) to yellow or gain a flashing yellow stripe down their back for a second.
  • June 19, 2013
    Chabal2
    Warhammer and Warhammer 40 K: The four Chaos gods are the embodiments of a specific emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is red, Tzeentch (hope) is blue, Slaanesh (desire) is either pink/purple, and Nurgle (despair) is green.

  • June 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Real Life
    • Black clothing is typically used to indicate that one is in mourning. The connection of black color and grief is so strong, that wearing anything besides black in a funeral can be taken as a huge insult.
  • June 26, 2013
    henke37
    • Athena from Ace Attorney has a necklace computer that acts as an emotion reader, defaulting to her own emotions.
  • June 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    The Wonderful World of Color example doesn't say anything about the relationship of colors and emotions in the song and is thus a Zero Context Example. Also, it has a Circular Link in it.
  • June 26, 2013
    MacronNotes
    ^ Removed it.
  • June 27, 2013
    Nocturna
    Remember to add a redirect from Color Coded Emotions when you launch this. :)
  • June 28, 2013
    lakingsif
    Real Life:
    • As an addition to the placebo effect of taking prescribed (but still placebo) drugs, differently coloured ones subconsciously make the patient feel more calm when blue and more confident/ strong when red.
  • June 28, 2013
    lakingsif
    If you're ditching the Superman pic, there's a (worse?) Green Lantern one here.
  • June 28, 2013
    macronnotes
    I'll go with the Superman pic. I'll put it up once this launches.
  • June 28, 2013
    lakingsif
    Also, Real Life, though I can't remember the name so:

    • Among various mixed-emotion 'conditions' (or super powers, whichever) is one where a person will mentally associate colours with many things - when they say they're feeling blue or seeing red, they honestly are. (I've got it, and there are related ones I have, too, so I come out with stuff like "It smells cold" and "Spanish is yellow, Physics is blue", "'A' is red, 'B' is green, 'C' is yellow, 'D' is grey..." and so on. As I said, super power.)
  • June 28, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Sounds like synesthesia.
  • June 28, 2013
    MacronNotes
    Err, why does this have a "tropeworthy" tag? It's certainly tropeworthy to me... Can the person added the tag explain?
  • June 29, 2013
    DracMonster
    • In Ah My Goddess, Belldandy can see Keichi's moods as colored auras.
  • July 7, 2013
    alnair20aug93
    I can add something on Western Animation

    • An episode on The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron, where Jimmy gets banned in the science fair, features a device that detects emotion through colour and music genre. For instance, when Cindy feels happy, the device shines yellow as it plays a sunny tune; when she spots Jimmy, the colour turns red as the music shifts to heavy metal; and while she feels regret and accidentally puts her hand on the device, it turns blue and plays, well, Blues.
    • The Moodulator, a device that fully changes emotion, is coded by colour. E.g, purple for random, blue for sadness, pink for love, and red for rage.
  • July 14, 2013
    DAN004
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=zwbovhz0fbqxvx13rtx8irjm