Presentation Title

Color-Sound Conditioning and Affective Changes

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Start Date

April 2021

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Vella, PhD

Keywords

Conditioning, mood, color, sound, bio-monitoring

Abstract

Previous studies in cognitive and clinical psychology have indicated that there is a significant relationship between mood and the perception of colors and sounds. In particular, that certain colors and sounds can increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions. Some therapeutic interventions utilize these benefits to help clients regulate their emotions. Most individuals perceive colors and sounds separately but those with a neurological condition called chromesthesia (or sound-to-color synesthesia) experience these sensations together.

This study will investigate whether sensory experiences in participants can be combined to form synesthesia-like effects, through classical conditioning, and what effects these experiences will have on mood. Within this experiment, synesthesia-like experiences will be classically conditioned and emotional responses to these experiences and stressful stimuli will be measured in remote online sessions as well as in-person sessions. Quizzes on color-sound-pair identification and reaction time monitoring will be used to assess whether the pairs had been conditioned and emotional responses will be measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and galvanic skin response (GSR). These measurements will be recorded before and after exposure to conditioned color-sound pairs and exposure to stressful stimuli (presented as basic arithmetic questions). Data collection is currently underway with an intended sample size of 30 undergraduate psychology majors.

Previously published research supports the idea that both colors and sounds induce strong positive emotional responses, and have been successfully implemented in multiple forms of therapy. It is likely that the combination of the two could produce a new, consistent, and more intensive form of grounding, which is a process of redirecting one’s attention away from their thoughts and to their surroundings. This experiment could potentially serve as a precursor to treatments for PTSD flashbacks that stem from negative, traumatic associations. It may also help challenge the social stigma associated with neurodiversity.

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

Color-Sound Conditioning and Affective Changes

Previous studies in cognitive and clinical psychology have indicated that there is a significant relationship between mood and the perception of colors and sounds. In particular, that certain colors and sounds can increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions. Some therapeutic interventions utilize these benefits to help clients regulate their emotions. Most individuals perceive colors and sounds separately but those with a neurological condition called chromesthesia (or sound-to-color synesthesia) experience these sensations together.

This study will investigate whether sensory experiences in participants can be combined to form synesthesia-like effects, through classical conditioning, and what effects these experiences will have on mood. Within this experiment, synesthesia-like experiences will be classically conditioned and emotional responses to these experiences and stressful stimuli will be measured in remote online sessions as well as in-person sessions. Quizzes on color-sound-pair identification and reaction time monitoring will be used to assess whether the pairs had been conditioned and emotional responses will be measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and galvanic skin response (GSR). These measurements will be recorded before and after exposure to conditioned color-sound pairs and exposure to stressful stimuli (presented as basic arithmetic questions). Data collection is currently underway with an intended sample size of 30 undergraduate psychology majors.

Previously published research supports the idea that both colors and sounds induce strong positive emotional responses, and have been successfully implemented in multiple forms of therapy. It is likely that the combination of the two could produce a new, consistent, and more intensive form of grounding, which is a process of redirecting one’s attention away from their thoughts and to their surroundings. This experiment could potentially serve as a precursor to treatments for PTSD flashbacks that stem from negative, traumatic associations. It may also help challenge the social stigma associated with neurodiversity.

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