Simply explained: the Lüscher color test is a personality test that records an individual’s color preferences to uncover life’s stressors and associated personality traits. This color test is basically based on the psychological and physiological responses of an individual to colors. It was developed by Dr. Max Lüscher in Switzerland and is based on the fact that “sensory perception of color is objective and universally shared by all”.
Human association with colors is as old as life itself. Starting with the cycle of night and day, early humans associated the dark-blue of the nighttime as a ‘time to rest’ or tranquility. Likewise, the yellow of the sunshine was a time to hunt and hence associated with ‘energy and action’. Thus, according to the Lüscher personality test, yellow is associated with ‘hope and activity’ while dark blue indicates a ‘quiet and passive personality’.
Today; color psychology is used by manufacturers to advertise and sell their products. Did you know that sugar is not usually sold in green packets but that blue is the preferred color here? This is because green is associated with “astringence” while blue is associated with “sweetness”. Thus, blue packets help sell the product better.
What the Lüscher color test consists of
There are two versions of the Lüscher color test: there is a full or extended version or one can take the shorter test as well. The complete version consists of 73 colored cards having 25 hues and more complex rules of interpretation. One has to make 43 selections in this test and naturally it lasts longer. The shorter version is as effective as the extended version but consists only of 8 selections. People who ‘pass’ the shorter test will be “reasonably well prepared” to pass the extended test as well.
In the shorter Lüscher test, the subject is made to sit before 8 colored cards that are also numbered and asked to choose the color s/he likes best. This card is then taken off and the subject is made to continue selecting colors in preferred order until all cards have been selected and taken off.
The test is repeated with the same cards again since this helps the psychologist ensure whether the subject has been sure about his choices rather than being impulsive. When the first time and second time results are identical or almost identical; psychologists may interpret this to be an “emotional inflexibility or rigid attitude towards life”.
The test comprises of basic colors like Blue, Green Red and Yellow which are considered as the “good parts of personality” as well as Grey, Brown, Black and Violet as the “auxiliary or the ‘less-good’ parts of personality”. If a subject’s first five choices in cards do not have the aforementioned basic colors, s/he might be having a psychological issue. A normal, well-balanced and healthy individual must have the four basic colors in his first five selections. On the other hand, the individual with a negative attitude towards life will either have grey, brown or black auxiliary colors in his first three selections.
Using the Lüscher personality test
The Lüscher color diagnostic test is very useful in work settings where employers can select potential candidates based on their ability to perform, to communicate and also withstand stress. The personality test can be used to uncover the cause of psychological stress that may be leading to physiological symptoms in patients.
The extended version of the test has 5015 precise definitions along with 34 predetermined personality traits, some of which lie outside the realm of the conscious. For the color test to be effective, the subjects must choose the colors in an unconscious manner to reveal how s/he actually is from within and not how s/he would like to be perceived.
- View the colors under a good light.
- Consider only the exact colors shown; not “imagined” color or ‘lighter or nicer’ colors.
- Select each color individually and not together just because they are a nice combination.
Many scientific tests have been conducted on the Lüscher color or personality test and these have validated it to hold true in assessing personalities. Naturally, greater research and in-depth analysis must still be carried out to decipher the accuracy as well as the meaning of the chosen colors especially when comparing what is “normal behavior” as against the behavior shown by people having psychological disorders.