Take a look at these two shapes. Which appears more "joyful"? Which appears "fearful"?
If you're like most people, the oval that is more vertical seems more joyful. And the one that is tilted on its side, less stable, is the shape that you would assign as being more fearful.
How about these shapes? Which appears to be suffering more?
Again, if you're like most people, the triangle that is rotated more from the vertical position is the one that is suffering more. The triangle that is vertical, standing on point is stronger.
In a recent study, Pavlova and her colleagues found that imbalance or instability in a picture of static objects is what leads individuals to attribute emotion to them. In a psychological sense, it is as if we see ourselves as the object. Being vertical and grounded is a state that is pleasing and empowering to us. The shapes that feel off-center evoke an off-centered feeling for us. For more on this check outCognitive Daily,where I first saw this.
The way we perceive things influences how we think and how are mind processes thoughts. Try this next one... Do you see a face or a word?
Ilove this stuff!
Footnotes: Pavlova, M., Sokolov, A.A., & Sokolov, A. (2005). Perceived dynamics of static images enables emotional attribution. Perception, 34, 1107-1116.