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03-01-2018 | Original Article

Reward priming eliminates color-driven affect in perception

Psychological Research
Kesong Hu


Brain and behavior evidence suggests that colors have distinct affective properties. Here, we investigated how reward influences color-driven affect in perception. In Experiment 1, we assessed competition between blue and red patches during a temporal-order judgment (TOJ) across a range of stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs). During the value reinforcement, reward was linked to either blue (version 1) or red (version 2) in the experiment. The same stimuli then served as test ones in the following unrewarded, unspeeded TOJ task. Our analysis showed that blue patches were consistently seen as occurring first, even when objectively appearing 2nd at short SOAs. This accelerated perception of blue over red was disrupted by prior primes related to reward (vs. neutral) but not perceptional (blue vs. red) priming. Experiment 2 replicated the findings of Experiment 1 while uncoupling action and stimulus values. These results are consistent with the blue-approach and red-avoidance motivation hypothesis and highlight an active nature of the association of reward priming and color processing. Together, the present study implies a link between reward and color affect and contributes to the understanding of how reward influences color affect in visual processing.

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