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Orange as a perceptual representation of the Dutch nation: Effects on perceived national identification and color evaluation


Daniël Lakens, Human Technology Interaction Group, IPO 1.24, PO Box 513, 5600MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands.



Although it is generally accepted that colors carry meaning, experimental research about individual, situational, and cultural differences in the meaning of colors is scarce. The current research examines whether the Dutch national color functions as a perceptual representation of The Netherlands. A person dressed in orange clothing was judged to identify more with his nation compared with the same person dressed in blue (Study 1). When national identification was salient, such as during (versus before/after) the European soccer championship, or when participants recalled an experience in which they identified (versus not identified) with The Netherlands, and people were more aware of the use of the color orange as a perceptual representation of The Netherlands, orange was evaluated more positively (Studies 2 and 3). Furthermore, orange evaluations correlated with self-reported national identification. These results support the hypothesis that national colors carry psychological meaning, which can influence person perception and color evaluations. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.