It first must be said that research on color interventions is less robust than for the other ambient interventions ( 2004 Tofle, Schwarz, Yoon, and MaxRoyale). This is attributed to many factors. Much of the evidence is anecdotal and more subjective in nature compared to the other interventions. As one researcher noted, color “.. is subject to gender preferences, generational preferences, geographical preferences, and even cultural preferences” (LaHood and Vanden Brink 2010:46). But the same might be said of music, and significant scientific research exists documenting music’s impact on health outcomes.
Light and nature may also have culturally specific associations, but there is greater scientific evidence of their physiological effects on humans.
Research on color interventions, however, also suffers from its association with less than scientific new age ‘healing’ therapies and popular media is often filled with oversimplifications of psychological responses to color (Tofle et al 2004).This does not mean further investigation should not occur. Afterall, some research has found color preferences related to age (Dittmar 2001) and patient preferences for light colors for all objects in a hospital room ceiling, wall, furniture, curtain etc (Schuschke and Christiansen 1994). Others have noted the importance of the use of different colors in providing variety for those confined to hospitals for longer stays (Mahnke 1987); or the possible role of color in forming spatial, weight and temperature perceptions of objects and environments (Birren 1978). thereby possibly affecting patients’ mood or even mobility in a space. Finally, significant research does exist on the relationship between colored light and circadian rhythms (Edeslstein et 2008). Circadian rhythms as mentioned previously have a vital role in regulating physiological responses in humans. These studies point to a positive role for color and colored light in healthcare design. Again, this ambient element remains an exciting area for further exploration.