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Bliss is blue and bleak is grey: Abstract word-colour associations influence objective performance even when not task relevant

Goodhew, Stephanie Catherine; Kidd, Evan

Description

Humans associate abstract words with physical stimulus dimensions, such as linking upward locations with positive concepts (e.g., happy = up). These associations manifest both via subjective reports of associations and on objective performance metrics. Humans also report subjective associations between colours and abstract words (e.g., joy is linked to yellow). Here we tested whether such associations manifest on objective task performance, even when not task-relevant. Across three experiments,...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGoodhew, Stephanie Catherine
dc.contributor.authorKidd, Evan
dc.date.accessioned2020-07-30T05:06:01Z
dc.identifier.issn0001-6918
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/206778
dc.description.abstractHumans associate abstract words with physical stimulus dimensions, such as linking upward locations with positive concepts (e.g., happy = up). These associations manifest both via subjective reports of associations and on objective performance metrics. Humans also report subjective associations between colours and abstract words (e.g., joy is linked to yellow). Here we tested whether such associations manifest on objective task performance, even when not task-relevant. Across three experiments, participants were presented with abstract words in physical colours that were either congruent with previously-reported subjective word-colour associations (e.g., victory in red and unhappy in blue), or were incongruent (e.g., victory in blue and unhappy in red). In Experiment 1, participants' task was to identify the valence of words. This congruency manipulation systematically affected objective task performance. In Experiment 2, participants completed two blocks, a valence-identification and a colour-identification task block. Both tasks produced congruency effects on performance, however, the results of the colour identification block could have reflected learning effects (i.e., associating the more common congruent colour with the word). This issue was rectified in Experiment 3, whereby participants completed the same two tasks as Experiment 2, but now matched congruent and incongruent pairs were used for both tasks. Again, both tasks produced reliable congruency effects. Item analyses in each experiment revealed that these effects demonstrated a degree of item specificity. Overall, there was clear evidence that at least some abstract word-colour pairings can systematically affect behaviour.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship(FT170100021)awarded to S.C.G
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherElsevier
dc.rights© 2020 Elsevier Ltd
dc.rights.urihttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
dc.sourceActa psychologica
dc.subjectabstract words
dc.subjectcolour
dc.subjectconcepts
dc.subjectsemantic representations
dc.subjectstroop
dc.subjectvalence
dc.titleBliss is blue and bleak is grey: Abstract word-colour associations influence objective performance even when not task relevant
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume206
dc.date.issued2020-05
local.identifier.absfor1701 - Psychology
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.elsevier.com/en-au
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationGoodhew, S. C., Research School of Psychology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationKidd, E., ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language
local.contributor.affiliationMax Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
local.description.embargo2022-05-30
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT170100021
local.identifier.essn1873-6297
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage103067
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.actpsy.2020.103067
local.identifier.absseo970117 - Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.provenancehttps://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/id/publication/1725..."The Accepted Version can be archived in an Institutional Repository" from SHERPA/RoMEO site (as at 30/07/2020).
dc.rights.licenseCC BY-NC-ND
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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