Study title
International colour-emotion survey
Ref study 13018
Study language English
Contributing institutions
  • Emotion
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Cross-cultural
  • Affect
  • Colour
2015 - currently
Geographical space
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • France
  • United States
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • Poland
  • China
  • Argentina
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Serbia
  • Russian Federation
  • Slovakia
  • Senegal
  • Bulgaria
  • Costa Rica
  • Iran
  • Azerbaijan
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Gabon
  • Georgia
  • Lithuania
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Palestine, State of
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Togo
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Zimbabwe
In 2015, we launched the data collection on our international colour-emotion association survey. The data is collected online ( We invite participants to complete the survey in their native language. At the end of 2017, we had translated and back-translated the survey into 37 languages. Additional translations are ongoing or are waiting for opportunities (new collaborators). For each country or language group within a country, we aim for complete data from about 100 participants, roughly equally distributed between three age ranges (18-30 years; 31-50 years; > 50 years). Also, we do not treat the data set without having at least 25 valid responses in each age group. Thus, we treat each sample when these conditions are met. On the current webpage, we only publish data of completed countries. We here use country of origin (not country of residence) as variable to group participants into discrete clusters per country. Different groupings can be obtained from the complete dataset.
Methods (description)
The link to the survey:

Material: In this study, participants are sequentially presented with 12 colour terms online (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, turquoise, purple, pink, brown, black, grey and white). Below the colour term, participants see emotion terms displayed in a circular format (see Geneva Emotion Wheel, GEW; Scherer, 2005). The GEW includes 20 emotions (interest, amusement, pride, joy, pleasure, contentment, admiration, love, relief, compassion, sadness, guilt, regret, shame, disappointment, fear, disgust, contempt, hate, and anger). The emotions are arranged such that positive emotions appear on the right side and negative emotions on the left side. Moreover, the emotion terms in the top of the circle represent powerful emotions while those in the bottom represent emotions of low power. Moreover, participants can indicate the intensity of the emotions by selecting smaller circles closer to the centre of the wheel as less intense and larger circles closer to the outside of the wheel of the large circle as most intense.

Procedure: The basic task is to associate the colour terms with emotion(s). Thus, for each colour term, participants are asked to select one, several, none of the emotions, or another emotion to the 20 emotion terms displayed in the large circle. At the same time, they rate the intensity of each chosen emotion. When no emotion is selected, we code this response as zero.

Current data: The data made available here represents the complete data sets. The data was collected using the here presented online link (opening the survey in English), or particular links which would directly open the link in a given language. Indeed, we had realized that if sent the major English link above, many participants would complete the link in English. Yet, we wanted to reach a more diverse sample (those not speaking English) and having the data collected in the respective native language.

Recruitment: For most countries, we had a defined collaborator who would coordinate the translation and back-translation. This collaborator would also recruit participants, and help in the data interpretation. According to local possibilities, data were collected by distributing the online link to students, via social networks, personal contacts, public advertisement, or other means. In the case of Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt, and Ukraine, the data were also collected on hard copies due to unstable Internet connections. The collaborators here collected the data and inserted the answers themselves so that again the complete data is accessible via the same input medium.
Methods (instruments)
  • Psychological test
Replicated study No
  • Mohr, Christine; Jonauskaite, Domicele; Dan-Glauser, Elise S.; Uusküla, Mari; Dael, Nele. 2018. Unifying research on colour and emotion: Time for a cross-cultural survey on emotion associations to colour terms. In L. W. MacDonald, C. P. Biggam, & G. V. Paramei (Eds.), Progress in Colour Studies: Cognition, Language, and beyond. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company (forthcoming).
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 07.02.2018
Date modified 27.05.2019
Start - End date 01.01.2013 -