Colour Psychology

Colours are frequently associated to emotions in how we think and communicate. Whereas popular opinions are clear-cut, results from scientific studies are mixed (e.g., is red negative?). In this project we study implicit and explicit semantic colour-emotion associations. Our lab participants in a large-scale, international consortium led by the Colour Psychology team headed by Prof. Christine Mohr at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. We aim to assess how color concepts (color terms) associate to a large variety of emotions. Having respondents from many languages and cultures, we assess their commonalities and differences that are potentially based on biological or culturally (in)variant experiences. Further, mappings consist in multiple interrelated colour-emotional associations rather than exclusive one-to-one relationships. These data build on a comprehensive inventory of semantic colour-emotion associations that will allow us and others to develop and test further research questions. Results may also foster neighbouring research areas, in particular on how colour-emotion associations shape color preferences.

Relevant publications

Jonauskaite, D., Wicker, J., Mohr, C., Dael, N., Havelka, J., Papadatou-Pastou, M., Zhang, M., & Oberfeld, D. (2019). A machine learning approach to quantifying the specificity of color-emotion associations and their cultural differences. Royal Society Open Science, 6: 190741. Doi: 10.1098/rsos.190741

Jonauskaite, D., Mohr, C, Abdel Khalek, A., Abu-Akel, A. …. Papadatou-Pastou, M. …Zhang, M. (2019). The sun is no fun without rain: Physical environments affect how we feel about yellow across 55 countries. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 66, 101350. Doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.101350

Jonauskaite, D., Abu-Akel, A. Dael, N., Oberfeld, D.,…. Papadatou-Pastou, M. … Mohr, C, Universal patterns in color-emotion associations. Submitted to Psychological Science

Marietta Papadatou-Pastou
Marietta Papadatou-Pastou
Assistant Professor of “Neuropsychology – Language Functions”

My research interests include various aspects of neuropsychology, as well as cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology.