Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Shauna Joye


Western society is filled with metaphors that carry through generations. Perhaps the most commonly known metaphor is that involving the colors black and white. Black is the color of choice for villains and demons while white is the color chosen for angels and heroes. The current research sought to explore exactly how far this metaphor might be carried over in real life in a series of two experiments. In the first experiment, neutral faces were surrounded in black and white to see if participants would perceive the faces in black as more aggressive than those surrounded by white. Results indicated that the color of background did not significantly alter the perception of aggression. In the second experiment, participants were asked to wear either a white or black shirt and then read and respond to a story about a man who when taking out the garbage is nearly hit by a car. Results indicated that participants expected the man to respond the same way regardless of the color of shirt they were assigned. These results help us to get a better understanding of how perception of self and others can be effected by everyday stimuli. This information helps us to represent ourselves in the best possible light during any social and work situation.