Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-2018

Faculty Advisor(s)

Austin Lee


Color serves as an important and powerful communication tool, and heavily influences people’s motivation, performance, and perceptions, largely due to people’s learned associations to color. This study examined how different colored backgrounds influence the perceived credibility of a speaker. A total of 75 participants completed an anonymous online experiment. Participants watched a one-minute video clip promoting a student organization. The video clips were identical across the conditions, with the exception of the background behind the speaker varied in three colors: red, blue, and white. Using a between-subject design, participants were randomly assigned to one of those conditions. Participants then evaluated the perceived credibility of the speaker in the three primary dimensions (expertise, trustworthiness, goodwill) and the three secondary dimensions (dynamism, composure, sociability), using a 36-item semantic differential scale. The results indicated that the background color significantly influences the perceived trustworthiness of the speaker. A post-hoc analysis revealed that the blue background increases the speaker's perceived trustworthiness, while the red background decreases it. The white background was not significantly different from the blue and red backgrounds. The background color did not influence the other dimensions of source credibility. While there were study limitations such as a limited sample size, method of delivery, and topic of the speech, blue still had a noteworthy impact on the audience’s perception of trustworthiness toward the speaker. For effective persuasion, speakers and presenters are recommended to utilize a background with cooler colors.


Presented at the Spring 2019 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

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