Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/530

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
520
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

on the nervous system. From time to time experiments have been made as to the influence of various colored lights, chiefly on the insane, as first suggested by Father Secchi in 1895. Even yet, however, the specific mental influences of the various colors are not quite clear. It has been found by some that the red rays are far more soothing and comfortable, less irritating, than the total rays of uncolored light, and Garbini found that angry infants were soothed by the light through red glass, only slightly by that through green and not at all by other colored light. On the other hand, it is stated that a well-known dry plate manufacturer at Lyons was obliged to substitute green-colored glass in the windows of his large room for the usual red because the work people sang and gesticulated all day and the men made love to the women, while under the influence of green glass (which also allows yellow rays to pass) they became quiet and silent and seemed less fatigued when they left off work. We need not attach much value to these statements, but in this connection it is interesting to refer to the results obtained some years ago by Féré and recorded in his 'Sensation et Mouvement.' Experimenting on normal subjects as well as on nervous subjects, who were found more sensitive, with colored light passed through glass or sheets of gelatine, he found notable differences in muscular power, measured by the dynamometer, and in the circulation as measured by plethysmography tracings of the forearm under the influence of different colors. He found in this manner with one subject whose normal muscular power was represented by 23 that blue light increased his power to 24, green to 28, yellow to 30, orange to 35 and red to 42. The dynamogenic powers of the different colors were thus found to rank in the spectral order, red representing the climax of energy, or, as Féré puts it, "the intensity of the visual sensation varies as the vibrations." Féré found that colors need not be perceived in order to show their influence, thus proving the purely physical nature of that influence, for in a subject who was unable to see colors with one eye, the color stimulus had the same dynamogenic effect whether applied to the seeing or the defective eye. Increase of volume of blood in the limbs, measured by the plethysmograph, so far as we can rely on Féré's experiments, ran parallel with the influence on muscular power, culminating with red, so that no metaphor is involved, Féré remarks, when we speak of red as a 'warm' color. On the insane the results attained by the use of colored glass do not seem to be quite coherent. Some of the earlier observers described the beneficial effects of blue glass in soothing maniacs. Pritchard Davies, however, was not able to find that red light had any beneficial effect, though on some cases blue had, while Roffegean found that, in the case of a somber and taciturn maniac who could rarely be persuaded to eat, three hours in a red-lighted room produced a markedly beneficial effect, and a man with