This paper examines whether color can modify the way that primed constructs affect behavior. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that, compared to the color white, blue is more likely to lead to assimilative shifts in behavior, whereas red is more likely to lead to contrastive changes in behavior. In our experiment, previous findings were replicated in the white color condition: participants’ behavior assimilated to primed stereotypes of (un)intelligence and contrasted away from primed exemplars of (un)intelligence. However, in the blue color condition, participants’ behavior assimilated to the primed constructs, whereas in the red color condition, participants’ behavior contrasted away from the primed constructs, irrespective of whether the primed constructs were stereotypes or exemplars.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Smeesters, D., & Liu, J. (2011). The Effect of Color (Red versus Blue) on Assimilation versus Contrast in Prime-to-Behavior Effects. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(3), 653–656. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.02.010