Are angry people better able to see the color red?

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A class of metaphors links the experience of anger to perceptions of redness. Whether such metaphors have significant implications for understanding perception is not known. In Experiment 1, anger (versus sadness) concepts were primed and it was found that priming anger concepts led individuals to be more likely to perceive the color red. In Experiment 2, anger states were directly manipulated, and it was found that evoking anger led individuals to be more likely to perceive red. Both experiments showed that the observed effects were independent of the actual color presented. These findings extend the New Look, perceptual, metaphoric, and social cognitive literatures. Most important, the results suggest that emotion representation processes of a metaphoric type can be extended to the perceptual realm.

Source: “Anger as Seeing Red: Perceptual Sources of Evidence” from Social Psychological and Personality Science

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