Can your perception of colour be affected by your mood?
Can your perception of colour be affected by your mood?

Sadness can affect our perception of colour

People dld not identify colour as accurately after watching a sad clip

Rose Troup Buchanan
Friday 04 September 2015 14:34

What colour do you see when you look at this image?

Researchers have suggested feeling sad can affect how the brain perceives colour.

The study, published in Psychological Science, examined the responses to colour of more than 200 university undergraduates after they had watched a sad or amusing video clip.

In the first test, 127 students were split into two groups – one watching a sad clip and the other a happy one – and then tested on their ability to identify colours.

It found that people who had watched the sad animated video did not accurately identify as many colours as the other group.

A similar test with 130 participants (half of whom watched a “neutral” clip and the other who watched the sad one) came to the same conclusion: students who had watch a sad clip were not as accurate as the other group.

"Our results show that mood and emotion can affect how we see the world around us," Christopher Thorstenson, a psychology researcher at the University of Rochester who lead the study, said.

"Our work advances the study of perception by showing that sadness specifically impairs basic visual processes that are involved in perceiving colour."

Their work builds on work that has linked a depressed state to a reduced ability to perceive colour, known as contrast visual sensitivity.

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