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Colour-Coded Emotions
aka: Color Coded Emotions

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, sadness, 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.
    open/close all folders 

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

    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.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Water elementals shift colour according to their mood in Diaries of a Madman. Within the dream realm, dreams are also coloured according to the type of dream it is, and the emotions of the dreamer.

     Films - Animation 

     Literature 
  • Drones in The Culture often display a coloured force field to show what mood they're in: blue for formal, white for angry, red for pleasure and so on.

     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.

     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.
  • In ZooTycoon, your animals have colored emoticons appear over their head to indicate their mood at certain times.

    Visual Novels 

    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.

     Real Life 
  • Black clothing (white if in Asian countries) 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.
Character Reaction IndexEmotion TropesCrossing the Burnt Bridge
Elemental NationColour-Coded for Your ConvenienceColor-Coded Multiplayer
You ALL Look FamiliarImageSource/InternetWayback Machine

alternative title(s): Color Coded Emotions
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