Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research On The Color Red Shows Definite Impact On Achievement

Date:
March 1, 2007
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
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.

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.

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 papers.

"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 different contexts." If the context changes, the implications do, too. Elliot's next study will focus on physical attractiveness.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "Research On The Color Red Shows Definite Impact On Achievement." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070228170240.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2007, March 1). Research On The Color Red Shows Definite Impact On Achievement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070228170240.htm
University of Rochester. "Research On The Color Red Shows Definite Impact On Achievement." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070228170240.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) — Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) — Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins