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Michela Malfatti, Karen B. Schloss, Liliana Albertazzi, Stephen E. Palmer; Shape-to-Color Associations in Non-synesthetes: Evidence for Emotional Mediation. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1004. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1004.
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There is growing evidence that cross-modal music-to-color associations are mediated by emotion in non-synesthetes (Palmer, Schloss, Xu, Prado-Leon, 2013; Whiteford, Schloss, Palmer, 2013). Here we investigated whether emotion might also mediate cross-dimensional shape-to-color associations in non-synesthetes (Albertazzi et al., 2012). Experiment 1 tested shape-to-color associations with 44 line stimuli that differed in the number of line segments (2/3/8), kind of edges (curved/angular), level of closure (open/semi-closed/intersecting-once/intersecting>1) and symmetry (asymmetric/symmetric). While viewing each stimulus, participants picked the three most consistent (and the three least consistent) among 37 colors. Later, they also rated each color and each line on 7 bipolar emotional dimensions (sad/happy, calm/agitated, not-angry/angry, passive/active, weak/strong, safe/harmful, and unpleasant/pleasant). The colors chosen to go with a line were well predicted by specific perceptual features of the line. In particular, more saturated colors were associated with more closed, angular, intersecting lines; darker colors were associated with more angular, intersecting lines; redder colors were associated with more angular, closed lines; and yellower colors were associated with more closed, angular, asymmetric lines. Consistent with the emotional mediation hypothesis, participants reliably associated colors with lines having similar emotional content for 6 of the 7 emotional dimensions, with correlations ranging from .84 for safe/harmful to .69 for unpleasant/pleasant. Preference (liked/disliked) also seemed to be related to color choices (r=.58). Principal Components Analysis of the dimensions showed that 91% of the variance could be explained by 2 components that roughly corresponded to not-angry/angry and sad/happy. Experiment 2 investigated similar shape-to-color associations for 45 closed geometric shapes that differed in the number of lines (3/4/9), kind of edges (curved/angular/pointy), concavity (0/1/>1 concavities), and symmetry (0/1/>1 symmetry axes). Results were similar in that the safe-harmful emotional dimension produced the highest shape-to-color correlations.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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