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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 6;9(8):e104291. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104291. eCollection 2014.

Seeing life through positive-tinted glasses: color-meaning associations.

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University of Poitiers and CNRS (CeRCA, UMR 7295), Poitiers, France.


There is a growing body of literature to show that color can convey information, owing to its emotionally meaningful associations. Most research so far has focused on negative hue-meaning associations (e.g., red) with the exception of the positive aspects associated with green. We therefore set out to investigate the positive associations of two colors (i.e., green and pink), using an emotional facial expression recognition task in which colors provided the emotional contextual information for the face processing. In two experiments, green and pink backgrounds enhanced happy face recognition and impaired sad face recognition, compared with a control color (gray). Our findings therefore suggest that because green and pink both convey positive information, they facilitate the processing of emotionally congruent facial expressions (i.e., faces expressing happiness) and interfere with that of incongruent facial expressions (i.e., faces expressing sadness). Data also revealed a positive association for white. Results are discussed within the theoretical framework of emotional cue processing and color meaning.

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