Last week’s Casual Friday study seemed like a great idea. Playing off the study we recently analyzed which revealed that the orientation of shapes could convey emotion, we thought we might be able to demonstrate a similar phenomenon with scenes.
Respondents were divided into three groups. Everyone saw the same three pictures, but each group saw them with a different amount of slant:
The first group saw the original, unaltered photos. The second group’s photos were all slanted by 7 degrees. The third group’s photos were slanted by 20 degrees. Each viewer rated each photo on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 was sad and 10 was happy. So, does slantedness of the photo affect the ratings?
With 263 responses, you might think if there was a significant effect of slantedness, we would have found it. However, even after averaging all the ratings for all the pictures together, we found no significant results:
The 7-degree slant rating was about .22 points lower than the no-slant rating, but this was not significant. We would have needed about three times as many responses to get a significant result (assuming the trend held).
Were viewers simply rating all the pictures the same? No, because individual pictures did receive different happiness/sadness ratings:
So, based on our results, it appears that the slantedness of a picture does not impact its happiness or sadness. Another possibility is that viewers recognized that slantedness was being manipulated, and so incorporated that into their responses. Did you suspect we were actually trying to measure the impact of slantedness? Do you have another explanation for the results? Let us know in the comments.