The Color of Sensual
and Successful Influence?
By Kevin Hogan
Context...and in this case, color CHANGES EVERYTHING.
Knowing how to take advantage of color, in specific situations will
determine whether they buy, they donate, they say "yes"
to you or determine how you will perform.
Your environment programs you and everyone else around
you. The person who understands HOW and WHY is the person
who controls the situation.
Almost universally, red means stop. Red means danger. Red means hot.
And analyzing the results in the 2004 Olympics, researchers have
found that red also means dominance. Athletes wearing red prevailed
more often than those wearing blue, especially in hand-to-hand sports
Why? Is it random? Is it cultural? Or does it have evolutionary
Evolution of Color
Let's check out that evolutionary piece...
A new study of male rhesus macaques strongly suggests it's
evolution. "The similarity of our results with those in humans
suggests that avoiding red or acting submissively in its presence may
stem from an inherited psychological predisposition," says Dartmouth
College neuroscientist Jerald D. Kralik, who collaborated on the
study with his research assistants Sara A. Khan and William J.
Levine, and anthropologist Seth D. Dobson, also at Dartmouth.
Their findings will be published in an upcoming issue of
Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological
The study involved male rhesus macaques - a species of Old World
monkeys that is sensitive to red, green, and blue - ranging freely in
Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico.
Two human experimenters, one male and one
female, entered the monkeys' colony and found isolated males to test.
Both people knelt down, placed a Styrofoam tray in front of them,
drew an apple slice from their backpacks, held the slice at chest
level for the monkey to see, then placed the apple on the trays. Both
stood up simultaneously and took two steps back.
The monkey typically went directly to the slice he wanted, ran off,
and ate it.
The humans wore T-shirts and caps, whose colors - red, green, and blue -
were changed in each of four conditions: red on female, green on
male; then vice-versa; red versus blue; blue versus green.
The results were striking. The monkeys paid no mind to the sex of
the experimenter. Green or blue made little difference to them
either. But in the significant majority of cases, they steered clear
of the red-clad humans and stole the food from the other tray.
The researchers believe that this aversion to red reflects an
evolutionary adaptation. It is no accident, then, that humans know
that red can mean "no!"
(Except when it doesn't...we'll come to that later in the article.)
"We - primates and then humans - are very visual," Kralik explains.
Color and the Social Animal
"We are also very social." In both realms, color has important
effects, from telling us which food is edible to helping us gauge the
emotions of others by the relative redness of their skin. Put the two
together, he says, "and we start to see that color may have a deeper
and wider-ranging influence on us than we have previously thought."
While we learn what those influences are, the researchers warn the
organizers of competitive activities, such as sporting events and
even academic exams, to avoid using color "in ways that may unfairly
influence people," says Kralik. What they don't say: If you want to
scare the pants off your rival, wear bright red.
[For more information about this study, please contact: Jerald D.
Kralik at Jerald.D.Kralik AT Dartmouth DOT edu. For a copy of the article
"Red Signals Dominance in Male Rhesus Macaques" and access to other
Psychological Science research findings, please contact Divya Menon
at dmenon AT psychologicalscience DOT org.]
KEYPOINT: The monkeys won't approach food from the tray brought in
by people in red.
But wait just a minute...
Continue: Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
Network 3000 Publishing
16526 W. 78th St. #138
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
Coffee cup photo appears under license with Stockexpert. Article photos appear under license with istockphoto/isitsharp and istockphoto/maystramaystra.