Color has the power to evoke emotion, stimulate appetite, and even make babies cry. The psychology of colors goes well beyond personal preference, upbringing, cultural influence, and associations with experiences.

Colors are deeply ingrained in modern society, which can signify love, friendship, boy, girl, purity, passion, happiness, and peace. Marketers are well aware of the power color reigns over our lives, which is why McDonald’s chooses its red and yellows to make us hungry, and Victoria’s Secret uses pinks and purples to make women feel sexy and feminine.

It should surprise no one that retailers have gotten their hands on science that can manipulate the mind and senses into buying a particular item, shopping at their store or eating at their restaurant. Up to 90 percent of first impressions made about products can be based on color alone, according to a Canadian study on the impacts of color on marketing.

Colors influence us “to the extent that even our highest-level cognition and intelligence are biased by these low level impressions,” Jerald Kralik, assistant professor of psychology and brain sciences at Dartmouth University, told The Atlantic.

The Psychology of Color

10 Ways Colors Unknowingly Influence Your Life

1. Red

Stimulates appetite and enhances the brain’s attention to detail, which is why it’s the perfect choice for McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, and 711. A recent study also reveals waitresses who wear red receive more tips if their patrons are men because of the brain’s attraction to red. The color can also impair exam performances or tasks because it’s associated with danger and decreases motivation.

2. Blue

Encourages the mind to think outside the box and to be productive and boost performance. Blue Cross Blue Shield, Forbes, and AT&T all know the trick and stick to it through their corporate business logos. It also curbs appetite because it reminds the mind of sterility.

3. Green

Promotes inner tranquility and connects the mind to trust and good health. A Harvard University study conducted in 2012 found food items that were labeled in green evoked a sense of healthiness and sales shot up, in contrast with the same food items with red labels, which declined in sales.

4. Yellow

The happiest color in the color spectrum also increases metabolism and gives the body a surge of energy. Babies are also prone to cry more if they’re exposed to the color yellow, so it’s best to avoid coloring the nursery with a bright sun or sunflower curtains.

5. Orange

Is a lively color that excites the brain and causes a person to become enthusiastic. A deeper shade will indicate warmth; a brighter shade will indicate caution and cause a person to become vigilant.

6. Pink

This calm and warming color is used to signify love, femininity and womanhood. It has such a strong hold on the mind that prisons paint the walls of certain jail cells pink to calm down some of their most aggressive prisoners, after psychologists discovered in the late 1970s that the color calmed children down in Canadian schools.

7. Purple

The color of royalty, wealth, and success dresses the mind in luxury and provokes elitist thoughts. Many kings wore purple robes. Lighter purples, known as lavender, will calm a person who is in an anxious or nervous state, and allows them to relax.

8. Black

The most ominous of colors is actually considered a shade to represent death and mourning. Ancient Egyptians believed black symbolized life and rebirth. Brands such as Chanel and Prada use the color to create a sense of sophistication in their items.

9. White

The color of purity, innocence, and emptiness is also often used as a symbol of peace and spaciousness. It is also used to create a bland and sterile feeling, which is why most hospitals and hospital workers are adorned in white.

10. Gold/Silver

Gold is a metallic color that is closely associated with love, wisdom, glamour, and wealth. While silver is also a metallic color, it evokes security and style and can make the mind associate it with upscale items because of jewelry and appliances.