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Man and Culture

Health and sickness: color associations in modern Russian culture
Griber Yuliya Alexandrovna

Doctor of Cultural Studies

professor of the Department of Social Studies and Philosophy at Smolensk State University

214000, Russia, Smolenskaya oblast', g. Smolensk, ul. Przheval'skogo, 4

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Yung Ivar Lauritz

Senior Educator, the department of Design, Linnaeus University

391 82, Shvetsiya, g. Kalmar, ul. Nygatan, 18A




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The object of this research is the basic, anthropologically significant concepts of “health” and “sickness”. The subject of this research is the color associations in the modern Russian culture related to these concepts. The author carefully examines the intensity of color associations (this factor was assessed based on the number of color matches for each concept among various respondents), analyzes the correlation of associations with the color hue and diverse groups of shades (light, clear, dark), and determines the link between the concepts with achromatic colors – white, gray, and black. Special attention is given to the culturological expertise of the established associative connections. The research was conducted through the method of experiment, involving 100 Russian-speaking respondents (M=36, F=64, average age 23.73). The pallet consisted of 27 color samples from the Natural Color System (NCS). The participants were offered to select the most appropriate color samples for each concept. The conducted research allowed revealing the tolerant associations of the concept of “sickness” with dark green-yellow and yellow shades, which in the Russian culture indicate the decay, decomposition, deterioration. The structure of the chromatic image of the concept of “health” highlights two cores: in the red-yellow and green parts of the pallet. The core in the red-yellow part correlates with the image of a healthy person that in the Russian linguocultue semantically relates to healthy color of the face and natural blush. Prevalence of the green shades is explained by steady interaction in the Russian national sphere of concepts of the notions “health” and “sickness”. The scientific novelty of this work lies in quantitative characteristics of chromatic structure of the concepts of “health” and “sickness”; identification of the hue, lightness, saturation of the shades that form color associations and visualization of the acquired associative connections.  

Keywords: associative link, experiment, perceptual image, sickness, health, concept, color, color associations, sociocultural research, Russian culture
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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