Sunday, January 19, 2014

Light Causes Heat

A study of interest to the LMM:

Incandescent Affect: Turning On The Hot Emotional System With Bright Light 

Alison Jing Xu & Aparna Labroo 
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming 

Abstract: We propose turning on the light can turn on the hot emotional system. Across six studies we show that ambient brightness makes people feel warmer, which increases intensity of affective response, including sensation seeking from spicy-hot foods, perception of aggression and sexiness (“hotness”) in others, and generating more extreme affective reactions toward positive and negative words and drinks. We suggest these effects arise because light underlies perception of heat, and perception of heat can trigger the hot emotional system. Thus, turning down the light, effortless and unassuming as it may seem, can reduce emotionality in everyday decisions, most of which take place under bright light.

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