How sadness changes our perception of colour

Natural Health News – When we feel sad we often say that we are “feeling blue” or describe the world as gray; Now research suggests that these descriptions can be more than just a metaphor.

Previous studies have shown that emotion can influence different visual processes, and some studies have even indicated a relationship between depressed mood and reduced sensitivity to visual contrast. Because of contrast sensitivity is a basic visual process involved in color perception, the researchers wondered if there might be a specific link between sadness and our ability to perceive color. What you need to know

New research shows that when we feel sad we have trouble identifying colors along the blue-yellow axis.

The researchers suggest that this could be linked to a drop in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is a feature of sadness and depression.

Changing the perception

Now the results of two recent studies, published in the journal Psychological Science indicate that the feeling of sadness can actually change the way we perceive color. Specifically, researchers found that people who were induced to feel sad were less accurate in identifying colors in the blue-yellow axis that was funny or emotionally neutral feel.

“Our results show that the mood and emotions can affect how we see the world around us,” says researcher Christopher Thorstenson psychology at the University of Rochester, the first author of the study. “Our work advances in the study of perception, showing that sadness specifically affects the basic visual processes involved in the perception of color.”

blind to the blue

In one study, researchers had 127 university participants were assigned randomly to see a clip of animated film intended to provoke sadness or live comedy clip intended to amuse.

After watching the video clip, participants were shown 48 consecutive patches of color and were asked to indicate whether each patch was red, yellow, green or blue.

The results showed that participants who saw the video clip sadness were less accurate in identifying colors that participants who saw the funny clip, but only for color samples were in the blue-yellow axis. They showed no difference in the accuracy of the colors in the red-green axis.

A second study with 130 students showed the same effect as compared with a clip neutral film: Those who saw a sad clip were less accurate in identifying colors in the blue-yellow spectrum of those who saw protector neutral screen. The findings suggest that sadness is specifically responsible for the differences in color perception.

dopamine A connection?

Researchers say their study tables new territory and note that previous work has linked specifically the perception of color in the blue-yellow axis with the neurotransmitter. dopamine. For example people with Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a deficiency of dopamine also have problems perceiving colors along the blue-yellow axis; like people with ADHD .

Depression is also linked with both very high and very low levels of dopamine. Study in this area can help determine why we have trouble seeing blue when we’re feeling blue.

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