ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (6): 777-790.

### The Priming Effects of Red and Blue on the Emotion of Chinese

WANG Tingting;WANG Ruiming;WANG Jing;WU Xiaowen;MO Lei;YANG Li

1. (Center for Studies of Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
• Received:2013-09-29 Published:2014-06-30 Online:2014-06-30
• Contact: MO Lei

Abstract:

Color plays a key role in influencing the minds and behaviours of both animals and humans. A large amount of research has been done to investigate the effects of color on emotion, and most has focused on red and blue. Previous studies showed that, on the arousal dimension, red was more arousing than blue; while on the dominance dimension, red could enhance more dominance than blue. However, on the pleasure dimension, the results were very conflicting. According to the color theorists and the study of Mehta and Zhu (2009), the conflicting in early studies might due to the cultural difference, which is an important environment factor for people to form color-emotion learned associations during experiences. To further investigate this question, current study mainly focused on two questions: 1) whether red and blue has different influence on Chinese’s emotion? 2) Whether the effects of color perception and color concept on emotion were consistent? Three experiments were performed to examine the effects of red and blue on the emotion of Chinese. About thirty undergraduates were selected to participate in each experiment. Experiment 1 explored the emotional meaning of red and blue with an explicit color association test. Participants were asked to write down five emotion words when they saw the colored square or color words (‘red’ or ‘blue’). Experiment 2 and 3 explored the priming effect of red and blue with an implicit priming paradigm. Experiment 2 examined the different effects of red and blue on emotion at the perception level. Experiment 3 examined the different effects of red and blue on emotion at the concept level. Experiment 1 showed that in the four conditions, participants could induce both positive and negative emotional associations. However, the negative emotional associations were induced much less in the conditions of blue perception and red concept than in the conditions of red perception and blue concept. Experiment 2 showed that red perception induced high arousal, high dominance, high pleasure and low pleasure emotion; while blue perception induced low arousal, low dominance, and high pleasure emotion. Experiment 3 showed that red concept induced high arousal, high dominance, and high pleasure emotion; while blue concept induced low arousal, low dominance, high pleasure and low pleasure emotion. The effects of red and blue concept were consistent with the effects of perception on arousal and dominance, but inconsistent with the effects of perception on pleasure. The present findings revealed that for Chinese, red perception could induce high arousal, high dominance, high pleasure and low pleasure emotion, whereas blue perception induced low arousal, low dominance, and high pleasure emotion; red concept could induce high arousal, high dominance, and high pleasure emotion, whereas blue concept could induce low arousal, low dominance, high pleasure and low pleasure emotion. The effects of color perception and color concept were consistent in arousal and dominance, but inconsistent in valence.