The Color of Sensual
and Successful Influence?
By Kevin Hogan
Color and Functioning Ability
The monkeys won't approach the food brought by men and women in red.
Monkeys, men AND women are attracted to opposite sex...same species...
Viewing red while in a competitive situation can reduce your chances
What about testing? Exams?
The color red can affect how people function: Red means danger and
commands us to stop in traffic. Researchers at the University of
Rochester have now found that red also can keep us from performing
our best on tests.
If test takers are aware of even a hint of red, performance on a
test will be affected to a significant degree, say researchers at
Rochester and the University of Munich. The researchers' article in
the February issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
on the effect of red on intellectual performance reveals that color
associations are so strong and embedded so deeply that people are
predisposed to certain reactions when they see red.
Red = Corrections?
Andrew J. Elliot, lead author and professor of psychology at the
University of Rochester, and his co-authors found that when people
see even a flash of red before being tested, they associate the color
with mistakes and failures. In turn, they do poorly on the test. Red,
of course, is traditionally associated with marking errors on school
"Color clearly has aesthetic value, but it can also carry specific
meaning and convey specific information," says Elliot. "Our study of
avoidance motivation is part and parcel of that."
Four experiments demonstrated that the brief perception of red prior
to an important test--such as an IQ test or a major exam--actually
impaired performance. Two further experiments also established the
link between red and avoidance motivation when task choice and
psychophysiological measures were applied.
The findings show that "care must be taken in how red is used in
achievement contexts," the researchers reported, "and illustrate how
color can act as a subtle environmental cue that has important
influences on behavior."
Elliot and his colleagues didn't use just any color of red. He
assessed the colors using guidelines for hue, saturation, and
brightness, and purchased a high-quality printer and a
spectrophotometer for the research. He was stunned to learn that
results from earlier work on color psychology by others didn't
control for saturation and brightness.
The article's hypothesis is based on the idea that color can evoke
motivation and have an effect without the subject being aware of it.
"It leads people to do worse without their knowledge," says Elliot,
when it comes to academic achievement. In one of the six tests given,
for example, people were allowed a choice of questions to answer.
Most of them chose to answer the easiest question, a classic example
of how to avoid failure.
The researchers believe that "color carries different meanings in
[Co-authors of the article in the Journal of Experimental
Psychology: General, a publication of the American Psychological
Association, are Arlen C. Moller and Ron Friedman, graduate students
in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at
the University of Rochester, and Markus A. Maier and Jörg Meinhardt
at the University of Munich. The work was funded by a grant from the
William T. Grant Foundation, and a Friedrich Wilhelm Bassel Award
from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to Andrew Elliot.]
And, what about things like atmosphere?
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 photo appears under license with istockphoto/001abacus.