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Emotion-color associations in the context of the face

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Christopher A. Thorstenson, Andrew J. Elliot, Adam D. Pazda, David Ian Perrett, Dengke Xiao

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Facial expressions of emotion contain important information that is perceived and used by observers to understand others’ emotional state. While there has been considerable research into perceptions of facial musculature and emotion, less work has been conducted to understand perceptions of facial coloration and emotion. The current research examined emotion-color associations in the context of the face. Across four experiments, participants were asked to manipulate the color of face, or shape, stimuli along two color axes (i.e., red-green, yellow-blue) for six target emotions (i.e., anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise). The results yielded a pattern that is consistent with physiological and psychological models of emotion.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1032-1042
Issue number7
Early online date27 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Emotion, Color, Face, Association

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