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form, color, and emotion

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A. Manning
added 3 research items
A general semantic framework can be derived iconically from the basic system of human color perception. C.S. Peirce described raw colors as iconic qualisigns, forms interpreted as feelings based on similarity to generalized experience. Basic narrative elements are related to basic color meaning: setting = yellow/white (background), conflict = red (opposition), resolution = blue/black (final pattern). Holiday-color prototypes are explained by this system.
The narrative-analysis literature demonstrates broad agreement about a number of points. Narrative is understood as the description of "events," a sequence of states changing over time. Narrative events are generally separated into categories: establishing setting, initiating events (conflict), plans (goals), action attempts (subplots), and final outcomes (results). Narrative is typically thought to have "macrostructure" in some way or another analogous and relatable to sentence "microstructure." Narrative is a foundational element of cognition, used to organize most if not all human experience and thought. The narrative-analysis literature varies considerably in strategies used to label key elements of narrative, to relate those narrative elements to sentences and other linguistic objects, to explain how and why narrative relates to other aspects of cognition.
A. Manning
added a research item
Previous empirical studies have shown consistent emotional responses to form and color, across a variety of contexts and especially across cultures. What varies across contexts and cultures is evaluation of the color/form/emotion response. For example, both the color red and jagged, high contrast forms consistently evoke one emotional response neutrally described as agitation or activation, a response evaluated negatively as anger or positively as excitement. Standard taxonomies of emotion do not consistently distinguish between the positive/negative evaluation of an emotion (e.g. committed/obsessed) and its raw quality (e.g. focused). Consequently, the consistent relationships between form/color and emotion have been obscured. We propose a new model of emotional response that treats color/form triggers of emotion quality separately from triggers of emotion evaluation. This new model identifies a spectrum of emotional quality (agitated-stimulated-amused-rested-focused-organized-concerned) generally parallel to the familiar color spectrum (red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet). With this model, we can demonstrate a stable emotion-spectrum response in a population of viewers, to any given combination of form and color. This paper will report on empirical tests of this emotion spectrum model and discuss implications for usability testing of visual information designs.
A. Manning
added a research item
This is a work-in progress paper, describing the design of an experiment to measure emotional responses to form, color, and typeface design in study participants from non-US cultural backgrounds. The purpose is to determine the degree to which general patterns of response from English speaking, non-US participants resemble or differ from responses from English speaking, US-study participants.