Want to do your best? Then avoid the color red when taking exams, such as the IQ test. Psychologists at the University of Rochester studied the impact of showing subjects a brief “perception” of the color red before they took a test. The appearance of this color–associated with danger, blood, stop signs, and error marks on school papers–apparently causes faster heartbeat and breathing, and causes performance to plummet.
“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,” reports the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
This is, of course, shocking news: a study that tells us something that we could probably surmise on our own. The same goes for the fact that the antidote to red–the color green–soothes us and makes us calm and want to “go.”
Next thing you know, a study will tell us that blue makes us feel serene, and black signals mystery and the unknown.
Study: Elliot, A.J.; Maier, M.A.; Moller, A.C.; Friedman, R. & Meinhardt, J. (2007) The Effect of Red on Performance Attainment. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol 136(1): 154-168.
DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.
“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.
What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines
New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.
Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats
With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure
Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation
From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.