Asymmetric effect of context-specific color priming on interpretation of ambiguous news articles

Jungsil Choi, Kiljae Lee, Pronobesh Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the context of reading a news article as a source to predict the stock price of a company, people's interpretation of the article was biased by the color used as its background. We found that this bias was (a) asymmetric, (b) strengthened with ambiguity, and (c) context specific. First, the color-priming effect was asymmetric. In Studies 1 and 2, the readers' interpretation was positively biased when the article was presented on a background color that signals up (green in the United States and red in South Korea). The interpretation, however, was not negatively biased when it was presented on a background color that signals down (red in the United States and blue in South Korea). Second, the effect was strengthened with ambiguity. Study 3 showed that the bias was stronger when the article describing the stock price was ambiguous than when it was unambiguous. Third, the effect appeared to be a consequence of the context-specific experience of an individual. Study 4 showed that the bias was stronger among those who recognized the meaning of a particular color in the context of their stock market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-232
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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