COLORS AND MOODS! By Samantha Davids and Francisco Vargas Heinz Werner (1890 – 1964) • Born in Vienna, Austria • Loved music; wanted to become a composer • Became interested in philosophy and psychology at the University of Vienna • Joined the Gestalt movement in Hamburg (1917) • Dismissed from Hamburg because he was a Jew in 1933 – moved to the USA • Did research on developmentally delayed and brain-injured children in the US • 1947 hired at Clark University Key Terms from Werner •Physiognomic Perception: reacting to the perceived dynamic, emotional, expressive qualities in an object that we feel within ourselves •Symbol formation: a symbol is a word, image, or action that represents something else: an object, concept or event •Dynamic Schematization: a directive, regulative, form-building process aimed at knowing objects •Synesthesia: the syncretic unity of the sense; an intersensory mode of experience Werner and Language • Children are very visual and use pictorial imagery to describe and understand the world around them • Language is a medium of representation: representing objects and abstract ideas. • Werner thought that language emerges not from an external source but rather from human experience – and thus tied to cultural environment • He noted that Native Americans were very physiognomically oriented and that West African languages were based on synesthesia Do colors affect our emotions? Have you ever been “green with envy,” “felt blue,” or “seen red?” “These are just a few of the ways [Americans] have infused color into our language and related them to our emotional state of mind.” --Meola, 2005 Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf • Sapir (1884 -1939): anthropologist-linguist – B.A. and M.A in German philology at Columbia – Taught at University of Chicago and Yale University • Mentor to Whorf (1897 – 1941): linguist – B.A. in Chemical Engineering from MIT – Met Sapir at Yale • Both interested in cognitive activity; the role of language in cognition • Both studied various Native American cultures and langauges Linguistic Relativity Principle The hypothesis that human experience is classified and ascribed meaning by different linguistic schemes in varying ways. “…users of markedly different grammars are pointed by their grammars toward different types of observations and different evaluations of externally similar acts of observation, and hence are not equivalent as observers but must arrive at somewhat different views of the world” -- Language, Thought, and Reality by Whorf Whorf’s Theory • Whorf focused on language in cognition. – He argued that they are not always separate phenomena – Did not claim that language’s function was to facilitate cognition • Socially generated and sustained patterns in language become entrenched in cognition and behavior • Language sustains the complex matrix of mental interconnections – Whorf elaborated Sapir’s cognitive model to show how socially generated patterns may be internalized and provided the foundation meaningful experiences Whorf’s Theory cont. • Linguistic operations are useful in determining “isolates of meaning” – specific patterns in experience given meaning to make sense of reality • Each language fosters a particular way of understanding experience – “picture of the universe” • Prior agreement of meaning – may be explicit, but more often implicit • “multilingual awareness” furthers the progress of science – aim to understand the core of human conceptual capacity and the nature of reality • Encouragement for individuals to become aware of differences between speech communities Studies on Color language and Emotions • Barrett, Burkitt, and Davis (2004) discovered that children consistently drew the positive pictures larger than the baseline and with their preferred colors. The children did not consistently decrease the size of the negative figures but did use their least preferred colors – In a later study, the same researchers compared cultures in a similar set up and discovered that there was a significant difference with regards to color difference was that green, orange and blue were associated more often with the Western children’s sad figure, while yellow was associated with the Steiner group’s sad figure. • Adelson, R. (2005, February) found support for the relativist hypothesis when comparing the influence of color words on color perception between English children and Himba children. Nature vs. Nurture Nature Rousseau Vygotsky Werner Locke Skinner Gesell Montessori Sapir-Whorf Nurture Our Research Study • To determine if the children with different cultural backgrounds, as determined by language, would associate different colors with the emotions happy and sad. • Hypothesis: – there will be differences in color choices for both Happy and Sad mosaics between children from different cultural backgrounds Personal Hypotheses Happy Sam Francisco Sad Sam Francisco Experiment • 2nd and 4th grade from HFA • Survey • Two Stories – Happy painting for the dentist – Sad painting for the turtle’s funeral 2nd Grade Total Color Usage 14 Students Most Often for Happy: Red, Pink, Yellow, Green, and Blue, Purple Most Often for Sad: Green 2nd Graders 7 Students Most Often for Happy: Red, Green, Pink, Blue, Purple, Yellow Most Often for Sad: Green and Blue 2nd Graders 4 Students Most Often for Happy: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink, Purple Most Often for Sad: Red, Green, and Blue 2nd Graders 3 Students Most Often for Happy: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink Most often for Sad: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, Black 4th Graders 16 Students Most Often for Happy: Yellow, Orange, Green Most Often for Sad: Purple 4th Graders 9 Students Most Often for Happy: Purple Most Often for Sad: Green 4th Graders 6 Students Most often for Happy: Yellow, Orange, Red, Green Most often for Sad: Purple, Black 4th Graders 1 Student Colors Used for Happy: Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple. Peach, Blue, Green, Pink, Black, Gray Colors Used for Sad: Purple, Brown, Blue, Green, Black, Gray Conclusion from our Study • In the 2nd grade, there were differences in color usage between language groups for the sad mosaic, but not so much for the happy mosaic. • In the 4th grade, there were differences in color usage between all language groups for both mosaics. Some problems with the Study • 2nd grade didn’t have privacy folders • Turtle influence • Too “neutral” of an instrument • Did not specify to use only one color in each space • Had to clarify some questions – languages spoken at home • Not enough variation in “cultures” based on language Changes we would make • Pictures instead of mosaic – like continuum of faces • Limit the number of colors they can choose for each emotion • Ask the children why they chose the colors they did • Find an established authority on color psychology Thank You!