Got the blues? You probably aren't seeing blues clearly. That's the takeaway from a new study that finds how a person views the color blue may actually depend on mood, reports Medical Daily. Not all colors were affected in the same way. Researchers at the University of Rochester asked 129 college students to watch either a stand-up comedy clip or the scene from The Lion King in which Mufasa dies, then recorded the participants' moods, per the Washington Post. Next, participants took a color accuracy test in which they had to look at 48 color patches that had been desaturated to look nearly gray, then identify whether each was red, yellow, green, or blue. People who were feeling down in the dumps performed worse than those who were amused.
In other words, the data supports "the conventional wisdom that people's emotions influence how colorful the world looks to them," the researchers say. However, the sad group performed poorly only when quizzed about colors on what researchers call the blue-yellow axis. They could identify colors on the red-green axis just as well as others—perhaps due to the evolutionary need to see red as a sign of anger, reports Time. The results are "a reminder that our experience of the world is not as immediate and objective as we’d like to believe," observes the Post. Researchers suggest a sad mood messes up the ability of the neuron transmitter dopamine to process information about blue-yellow colors. (This woman sees 100 times more colors than you.)