Affect of colors

The following research describes how color quickens and intensifies physical responses while at the same time it suppresses cognitive function. In the use of red or striking bright colors of other hues increases the likelihood that a person being harassed will reflexively respond without thinking. The research also shows that the positioning of color target also affects the targets perceptions. — Saskia

Perception of the color red enhances the force and velocity of motor output

Robert Plutchik's color wheel

Robert Plutchik’s color wheel

by  Andrew J. Elliot and Henk Aarts,
Emotion, Vol 11(2), Apr 2011, 445-449. doi: 10.1037/a0022599

The present research examined whether perception of the color red influences basic motor functioning. Prior research on color and motor functioning has been guided by ill-defined theoretical statements, and has been plagued by methodological problems. Drawing on theoretical and empirical work on the threat-behavior link in human and nonhuman animals, we proposed and tested the prediction that perceiving red enhances the force and velocity of motor output. Experiment 1 demonstrated that red, relative to gray (matched to red on lightness), facilitates pinchgrip force. Experiment 2 demonstrated that red, relative to gray (matched to red on lightness) and blue (matched to red on lightness and chroma) facilitates handgrip force and the velocity of that force. These findings clearly establish a link between red and basic motor action, illustrate the importance of rigorous experimental methods when testing color effects, and highlight the need to attend to the functional, as well as aesthetic, value of color. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Robert Plutchik's psychoevolutionary theory of emotion

Robert Plutchik’s psychoevolutionary theory of emotion

“Along with mobilizing extra energy, “threat also evokes worry, task distraction, and self-preoccupation, all of which have been shown to tax mental resources,” they write in the paper. In earlier color research, exposure to red has proven counterproductive for skilled motor and mental tasks: athletes competing against an opponent wearing red are more likely to lose and students exposed to red before a test perform worse.” http://rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3856

Color and Psychological Functioning: The Effect of Red on Performance Attainment

Affects of red on human performance

Affects of red on human performance

by Andrew J. Elliot, University of Rochester
Markus A. Maier, University of Munich
Arlen C. Moller and Ron Friedman, University of Rochester
Jorg Meinhardt, University of Munich
http://courseware.eduwest.com/courseware/0111/content/ziyuan/wenxian/01.pdf

This research focuses on the relation between color and psychological functioning, specifically, that between red and performance attainment. Red is hypothesized to impair performance on achievement tasks, because red is associated with the danger of failure in achievement contexts and evokes avoidance motivation. Four experiments demonstrate that the brief perception of red prior to an important test (e.g., an IQ test) impairs performance, and this effect appears to take place outside of participants’ conscious awareness. Two further experiments establish the link between red and avoidance motivation as indicated by behavioral (i.e., task choice) and psychophysiological (i.e., cortical activation) measures. The findings suggest that care must be taken in how red is used in achievement contexts and illustrate how color can act as a subtle environmental cue that has important influences on behavior.

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