Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People Who Wear Rose-colored Glasses See More, Study Shows

Date:
June 6, 2009
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A new study provides the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience suggesting that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is more biological reality than metaphor.

People who wear rose-coloured glasses see more.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Toronto

A University of Toronto study provides the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience suggesting that seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses is more biological reality than metaphor.

“Good and bad moods literally change the way our visual cortex operates and how we see,” says Adam Anderson, a U of T professor of psychology. “Specifically our study shows that when in a positive mood, our visual cortex takes in more information, while negative moods result in tunnel vision. The study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The U of T team used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine how our visual cortex processes sensory information when in good, bad, and neutral moods. They found that donning the rose-coloured glasses of a good mood is less about the colour and more about the expansiveness of the view.

The researchers first showed subjects a series images designed to generate a good, bad or neutral mood. Subjects were then shown a composite image, featuring a face in the centre, surrounded by “place” images, such as a house. To focus their attention on the central image, subjects were asked to identify the gender of the person’s face. When in a bad mood, the subjects did not process the images of places in the surrounding background.

However, when viewing the same images in a good mood, they actually took in more information — they saw the central image of the face as well as the surrounding pictures of houses. The discovery came from looking at specific parts of the brain — the parahippocampal “place area” — that are known to process places and how this area relates to primary visual cortical responses, the first part of the cortex related to vision.

“Under positive moods, people may process a greater number of objects in their environment, which sounds like a good thing, but it also can result in distraction,” says Taylor Schmitz, a graduate student of Anderson’s and lead author of the study. “Good moods enhance the literal size of the window through which we see the world. The upside of this is that we can see things from a more global, or integrative perspective. The downside is that this can lead to distraction on critical tasks that require narrow focus, such as operating dangerous machinery or airport screening of passenger baggage. Bad moods, on the other hand, may keep us more narrowly focused, preventing us from integrating information outside of our direct attentional focus.”

The research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Research Chairs program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Taylor W. Schmitz, Eve De Rosa, and Adam K. Anderson. Opposing Influences of Affective State Valence on Visual Cortical Encoding. Journal of Neuroscience, 2009; 29 (22): 7199 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5387-08.2009

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "People Who Wear Rose-colored Glasses See More, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090603103807.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2009, June 6). People Who Wear Rose-colored Glasses See More, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090603103807.htm
University of Toronto. "People Who Wear Rose-colored Glasses See More, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090603103807.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins