This article applies to:
Experiment Author: John Davin. Adapted from STEP (student submission to Research Methods class) and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
Investigates whether situations are rated as more or less dangerous based on the "dangerousness" of the color they are presented over.
In this experiment, participants see a series of questions about situations that elicit varying amounts of fear. For each question, participants respond by pressing a number from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) to indicate the degree of fear for the hypothetical situation. There are 15 trials in each of the two, near-identical experiments. The main difference is that one demonstrates a within-subjects design and the other demonstrates a between-subjects design.
Color is often used in everyday life to designate danger or caution. Warning signs, alarms, and hazard labels all use colors of red, yellow, or orange to indicate danger. This study was designed to determine if the so-called danger colors have an unconscious influence on people’s fear emotions. Using a within-subjects design, the experiment participant is presented with a series of questions about how much fear they would experience in certain situations. Each block of questions has a screen background color from one of three groups: danger colors (red, orange, yellow), harmless colors (blue, green, purple), and the control group (white). My hypothesis is that danger colors will cause higher fear responses and harmless colors will cause lower fear responses than the control color of white.