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Visual Culture

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  313 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,362 Views

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Do the traffic lights make sense? Yes, they do to me at least. And, I believe almost every other person. The colours used in traffic lights, I believe, are universal.

But just how and, why do they make sense to us. How is it possible that people are able to know when to stop, slow down and move. It's possible because we are taught from young to associate various colours, symbols and other visuals with, various things in life.

Red for example, is usually used to warn people of danger or to ward off potential law breakers. For example, signs warning against trespassing, where the background of the sign is red. Another reason we may understand that red means "stop" on a traffic light is because red is associated and is seen in things such as blood and fire, as such, our natural instincts probably play a part in helping us make sense of the traffic light. Moving on, the amber light is used to tell drivers to slow down. Probably because amber is a colour that is closely related to red, and therefore it makes sense to use it as the cautionary colour, to tell drivers to slow down. Green on the other hand, is miles apart from red and, is therefore used to signify that it is safe to proceed. I don't quite understand the reasoning behind the use of green however. Varying throughout the different cultures around the world, green symbolizes different things, some positive and some negative. However, it is known that green is a colour that is soothing on the eye. And perhaps a soothing colour is ideal for drivers, who are caught up in the hustle and bustle of driving.

Therefore, I am able to say that the traffic lights do make sense, as our brains have been hardwired to respond to certain colours, patterns and symbols in various ways.

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