Why Your Emotions Affect the Way You See the World

Katie Sweeney

When you’re feeling blue, the world can seem like a dreary place, right? Well Time is reporting on a new study by Psychological Science that says “being down in the dumps might even affect how you perceive the color blue.” The research proves that there is a direct connection between a person’s emotions and their ability to perceive color. “Sadness decreases arousal which in turn limits the amount of light entering the retina and reduces your visual acumen. A gloomy mood lowers dopamine, which may impair neutrotransmitters in the retina,” the article explains. In the experiments, sad people could not differentiate shades along the blue-yellow color axis, but could see shades along the red-green spectra, — “possibly because of an evolutionary need to see red as an anger response. ‘Seeing red’, therefore, might also be a more literal phrase than we once thought.” The researchers hope to learn more about how dopamine affects how we see colors, but according to the lead author Christopher Thorstenson, “how we feel can really influence how we see the world around us.”

Celebrate the art of color by filling in this pretty book with markers.

Do you pay attention to the colors around you?

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