Psychological Science 2018, (2) 430-434 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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Black-White Metaphor
SONG Shi-Qing
ZHOU Ling-Li
Article by Song,S.Q
Article by Zhou,L.L
Article by Chen,h

The Influence of Black-White Metaphor on Behavior of Integrity


Not only in western countries but also in China, people often connect white with goodness as well as connect black with badness.Such connection of black-white to moral concept can be seen in many adages,such as “white person” is used to describe someone who is clean and honest. According to concept metaphor theory, conceptual metaphor is defined as a mapping of associative links between corresponding elements of dissimilar concepts. The researches of moral from the view of metaphor theory have proved the connection of black-white with moral. While integrity as an important part of moral, we are going to explore the connection between integrity and black-white. According to Chinese traditional culture, the concept of integrity include two dimensions that is “honesty” and ”trustworthiness”. Moreover, several researches on the trait of integrity have explored the structure of integrity in Chinese culture. Therefore we will carry out our study in two dimensions to explore the influence of black-white metaphor to both honesty and trustworthiness. Both of the experiments were one factor within-subject design. We recruited 65 individuals to join our study, and the task presentation realized by E-prime 1.1. In study 1, we adapted the deception game developed by Gneezy, to ask the participants to finish the information send-receive task as an information-sender. In the task participants should decide whether to send their counterpart a truthful or deceptive message. These messages was presented on black or white background randomly. And record the number of truthful message sent by participants. In study 2, We modified the trust-game task. In this task participants should judge how much money will the trustee give back to investor as a spectator. Similar as study 1, the tasks were presented on black or white background randomly. And we will record the number that participants think the trustee will give more than the initial investment back to the investor. The results of study 1 showed that, when the tasks were presented on white background, participants will choose to send more truthful messages than presented on black background. The difference is edge significant,p=.087. The results of study 2 showed that compares to black background, when the tasks presented on white background, participants tend to think the trustee will give more than the initial investment back to the investor.The?differences?between the?two?condition of the?study?were striking,p=.002. All together, we proved the connection between integrity and the color of black and white, the color of the background can influence both of the honest behavior and trustworthy behavior. So we can see there’s psychological reality of “integrity is white, bad faith is black”. Such a color representation of integrity concepts exists at the behavior level. The finding extend the view of research about integrity and metaphor. According to Chinese traditional culture, integrity consisted of two factors: honesty and trustworthiness. However in the past years, researches about integrity only focus on the dimension of honesty, but ignore the dimension of trustworthiness. Our study aims at making up for the theoretical flaw in integrity. Furthermore our study enlarges the researches about metaphor by explore the black and white metaphor representation of integrity concepts and its influence on behavior of integrity.

Keywords Black-White Metaphor   Integrity   Honesty   Trustworthiness  
Received 2017-03-23 Revised 2017-11-16 Online: 2018-03-20 
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