Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Background. The color and emotional systems are classical research objects in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, but the interrelations between them, especially at the semantic level, are poorly understood. The multidimensional approach, developed in E.N. Sokolov’s “vector psychophysiology” school of thought, permits the solution of this important problem.
Objective. To carry out a psychophysical study of the interaction between color and emotions at the semantic level, through the analysis of subjective multidimensional spaces.
Design. The stimuli were the Russian names of 10 basic colors and 10 basic emotions. 102 participants used a scale from 1 to 9 to evaluate subjective differences in all possible combinations of color–color, emotion–emotion, and color–emotion. A 10×10color submatrix, 10×10emotion submatrix, and 20×20 full color–emotion matrix were processed by multidimensional scaling.
Results. The subjective spaces extracted from the color and emotion submatrices were found to be four-dimensional and spherical. The model of color semantics features two chromatic (“Red-Green” and “Blue-Yellow”) and two achromatic (“Semantic Brightness” and “Contrast Grey”) opponent axes. The model of emotional semantics features two basic (“Valence” and “Arousal”) and two social (“Dominance” and “Social Rejection”) opponent axes. The integral color-emotional space also was found to be four-dimensional and spherical, featuring combined color-emotional axes.
Conclusion. The interaction between color and emotional semantics can be described with a four-dimensional spherical model, proving that E.N. Sokolov’s universal spherical model can adequately describe the processes of intermodal integration at the semantic level.
Keywords: color, emotion, semantics, multidimensional scaling, spherical model, affective circumplex, vector psycho-physiology.