Anger as Seeing Red: Evidence for a Perceptual Association
Metaphor representation theory contends that people conceptualise their non-perceptual states (e.g., emotion concepts) in perceptual terms. The present research extends this theory to colour manipulations and discrete emotional representations. Two experiments (N=265) examined whether a red font colour would facilitate anger conceptions, consistent with metaphors referring to anger to "seeing red". Evidence for an implicit anger-red association was robust and emotionally discrete in nature. Further, Experiment 2 examined the directionality of such associations and found that they were asymmetrical: Anger categorisations were faster when a red font colour was involved, but redness categorisations were not faster when an anger-related word was involved. Implications for multiple literatures are discussed.
Fetterman, Adam K., Michael D. Robinson, and Brian P. Meier. “Anger as Seeing Red: Evidence for a Perceptual Association.” Cognition and Emotion 26.8 (2012): 1445-1458.