Lüscher color test

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The Lüscher color test is a psychological test invented by Dr. Max Lüscher in Basel, Switzerland. Max Lüscher believed that sensory perception of color is objective and universally shared by all, but that color preferences are subjective, and that this distinction allows subjective states to be objectively measured by using test colors. Lüscher believed that because the color selections are guided in an unconscious manner, they reveal the person as they really are, not as they perceive themselves or would like to be perceived.


Lüscher believed that personality traits could be identified based on one’s choice of color. Therefore, subjects who select identical color combinations have similar personalities. In order to measure this, he conducted a test in which subjects were shown 8 different colored cards and asked to place them in order of preference. Colors are divided between "basic" (blue, yellow, red, green) and "auxiliary" (violet, brown, grey, and black).

Colors Meanings[1][2]
Blue “Depth of Feeling” passive, concentric, tranquility, calm, tenderness
Green “Elasticity of Will” passive, concentric, defensive, persistence, self-esteem/assertion, pride, control
Red “Force of Will” ex-centric, active aggressive, competitive, action, desire, excitement, sexuality
Yellow “Spontaneity” ex-centric, active, projective, aspiring, expectancy, exhilaration
Violet “Identification” unrealistic/ wishful fulfillment, charm, enchantment
Brown Bodily senses, indicates the body’s condition
Black Nothingness, renunciation, surrender or relinquishment
Grey Non-involvement and concealment

After subjects placed the cards in order from most liked to least liked, they were asked to evaluate the extent to which their personalities matched the descriptive statements formed by Lüscher of each color.

The results of the Lüscher-Color-Diagnostic contain indications pertaining to personal assessment and special, professional recommendations as to how psychological stress and the resulting physical symptoms can be avoided. It also offers additional information for verbal and homeopathic therapy.


The validity of the color test has been questioned. It may be an example of the Forer effect, where an ostensible personality analysis (actually consisting of vague generalities applicable to the majority of people) is reported to be accurate by subjects who had completed a personality test before reviewing their 'results'. A 1984 comparison of the Lüscher color test and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory found little agreement between the two tests, prompting the authors to urge cautious use of the former.[3] Today, the MMPI is being used as a more valid assessor of personality.

Selected papers (English only)[edit]

  • Adels G. H., Validation of the Luscher-Color-Test as a screening instrument for emotional disturbance in schoolchildren, Diss. Boston University 1978;
  • Braum C.M.J., Cross-cultural validity, reliability, and stimulus Personality Assessment, 1979, N.43, 5;
  • Holmes, C. B., Buchannan, J. A., Duncan, D. S., Reed, T. The Barnum effect in Lüscher Color Test interpretation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1986. 42, 133-136.
  • Klar H., Opium smokers and the psychological and emotional changes after smoking. Medico, Boehringer Mannheim, 1964, N. 1;
  • Klar H., Obesity in the Light of the Colour Test, Riv.Medico, Boehringer Mannheim, 1961, N.3;
  • Kopp M. S., Psychophysiological and Personality Characteristics of Juvenile Hypertensive and Duedenal Ulcer Patients, International Journal of Psychophysiology 2, 73-85,1984, Semmelweis University of Medicine POB 370 Budapest,
  • Kopp M. S., Koranyi L., Autonomic and Psychologic Correlates in Hypertension and Duodenal Ulcer, Advances in Physiological Sciences, Vol.17, Nr. 41, 178-187, 1982 Semmelweis University of Medicine, POB 370 Budapest;
  • Lie N., A prospective-longitudinal study of adolescents: A review of projective methods selected for epidemiological research. Stockholm: Karolinska Institutet, 1979 (Lüscher-Test pp103–123);
  • Lie N., Boys who became offenders: A follow up of 2203 boys tested with projective methods. Acta Psych. Scand. (suppl. 342); 1988: 1-122 (Lüscher-Colour-Test pp. 100–103)
  • Lie N., Offenders tested with projective methods prior to the first offence. Brit. J Project Psychol. 1994, 39, 23-34;
  • Lie N. - Murasasu Dan, Prediction of criminality with the Lüscher Color Test; Is the Lüscher Color Test a possible instrument?, Journal de Medicina Preventiv‚ Vol.4 nr.1/1996, 47 -51;
  • Lie N., Haeggernes A., Precriminal personality traits : A 20-year follow-up of boys and girls, who became lawbreakers. Buletin de Pshiatrie Integrativa 1997: 3, 59-68;
  • Murarasu D. Cosma M., The Psycho-social Relationships evaluated by Lüscher-Color-Test applied in subjects having predominant neuropsychical tasks. Institut of Medical Research, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania;
  • Schutt D., Perceived Accuracy of Luscher Color Test Interpretation Ratings. California State University Los Angeles, 1999. 1544 Catalina Ave, Pasadena CA 91104-2406, USA
  • Picco R.D., Dzindolet M.T., Examining the Luscher Color Test, Perceptual and motor skills, Volume 79, Issue 3 Pt 2, pp. 1555 - 1558
  • Donnelly F.A., The Luscher Color Test: A Validity Study, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp. 17 - 18


External links[edit]