Previous research has shown that hills appear steeper to those who are fatigued, encumbered, of low physical fitness, elderly, or in declining health (Bhalla & Proffitt, 1999; Proffitt, Bhalla, Gossweiler, & Midgett, 1995). The prevailing interpretation of this research is that observers’ perceptions of the environment are influenced by their capacity to navigate that environment. The current studies extend this programme by investigating more subtle embodied effects on perception of slant; namely those of mood. In two studies, with two different mood manipulations, and two estimates of slant in each, observers in a sad mood reported hills to be steeper. These results support the role of mood and motivational factors in influencing spatial perception, adding to the previous work showing that energetic potential can influence perception.
Riener, C. R., Stefanucci, J. K., Proffitt, D. R., &Clore, G. (2011). An effect of mood on the perception of geographical slant. Cognition and Emotion, 25(1), 174-182.