The universal and automatic association between brightness and positivity

Author(s)
Eva Specker, Helmut Leder, Raphael Rosenberg, Lisa Hegelmaier, Hanna Brinkmann, Jan Mikuni, Hideaki Kawabata
Abstract

The present study investigates the hypothesis that brightness of colors is associated with positivity, postulating that this is an automatic and universal effect. The Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) was used in all studies. Study 1 used color patches varying on brightness, Study 2 used achromatic stimuli to eliminate the potential confounding effects of hue and saturation. Study 3 replicated Study 2 in a different cultural context (Japan vs. Austria), both studies also included a measure of explicit association. All studies confirmed the hypothesis that brightness is associated with positivity, at a significance level of p < .001 and Cohen's D varying from 0.90 to 3.99. Study 1-3 provided support for the notion that this is an automatic effect. Additionally, Study 2 and Study 3 showed that people also have an explicit association of brightness with positivity. However, as expected, our results also show that the implicit association was stronger than the explicit association. Study 3 shows clear support for the universality of our effects. In sum, our results support the idea that brightness is associated with positivity and that these associations are automatic and universal.

Organisation(s)
Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology, Department of Art History
External organisation(s)
Keio University
Journal
Acta Psychologica
Volume
186, May 2018
Pages
47-53
ISSN
0001-6918
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.04.007
Publication date
05-2018
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
501001 General psychology, 501011 Cognitive psychology
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/the-universal-and-automatic-association-between-brightness-and-positivity(d1ad0178-e925-4cb6-9169-b19692d8f0db).html