Hello darkness my old friend: preferences for darkness vary by neuroticism and co-occur with negative affect

Cognition and Emotion 33 (5):885-900 (2018)
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ABSTRACTMetaphors frequently link negative affect with darkness and associations of this type have been established in several experimental paradigms. Given the ubiquity and strength of these associations, people who prefer dark to light may be more prone to negative emotional experiences and symptoms. A five study investigation couches these ideas in a new theoretical framework and then examines them. Across studies, 1 in 4 people preferred the perceptual concept of dark over the perceptual concept of light. These dark-preferring people scored higher in neuroticism and experienced greater depressive feelings in daily life. Moreover, dark preferences shared a robust relationship with depressive symptoms as well as generalised anxiety symptoms. The results provide novel insights into negative affectivity and extend conceptual metaphor theory in a way that is capable of making individual difference predictions.



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