How would you decide?

Making decisions is probably one of the most frequent activities human beings engage in while following their daily life. Decision making often starts very early in the morning, directly after getting up – tea or coffee? Until the question “Where to spend the lunch break?”, accompanied by the question “With whom to spend this break and what to eat?” pops up, countless more or less important decisions already have been made. For some of us deciding on something happens rather incidentally, while others (me included) need some time to properly overthink all the outcomes a possible decision could have. Why is that? Does this solely depend on the person making the decision or more on the external circumstances the decision making is taking place? Until now the answer to that question is probably: both. One topic of interest in attempting to find the influencers decision making are colors. For example, a previous study was able to show that the exposure to the color blue in a cognitive task would facilitate creative processes (Gan et al., 2016) and moreover that blue is supposed to have relaxing and calming effects (Elliot, 2019). Additionally, from an evolutionary point of view the color red is seen as a signal for danger and consequently is expected to evoke excitement. Nevertheless, even though the psychological influence of colors has already been studied in a wide range, the findings seem to be slightly contradicting and accompanied by multiple limitations. Especially when the effect of colors on moral decision making is investigated. When making a moral judgment, a person’s decisions can be rated as being either deontological (i.e. harming another person is wrong regardless of the consequences) or utilitarian (i.e. morality of a decision is judged based on its consequences) (Conway et al., 2013). In order to investigate whether exposure to different colors can alter moral decision making, the current study first exposes participants to one color (red, yellow or blue) and then asks for a moral judgment. So far, the ongoing study won’t allow any premature conclusion, but if significant results would be found this could have serious implications. For example, it could be thought of a way how colors can be implemented into our daily life to increase prosocial behavior or decrease phenomena such as the bystander effect. 

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