HUE DONE IT
WHAT colours do to your body. This week: Red
SEEING red isn’t just about getting angry. Viewing this colour makes your body react faster and more forcefully, studies suggest.
In one of two experiments published in the journal Emotion, 30 children were asked to read aloud a number, printed in grey or red, before pinching and holding open a metal clasp. For the second experiment , 46 students squeezed a hand-grip with their dominant hand, while reading aloud the word ‘ squeeze’, shown against a red, blue or grey background.
In both experiments, red significantly increased the strength the participants used. They also reacted faster.
These findings tie in with previous research that found red triggers the release of adrenaline and increases muscle tension.
Andrew Elliot, a professor of psychology at New York’s University of Rochester, says red is likely to enhance physical reactions because it is seen as a danger signal. ‘Humans flush when they are angry or preparing for attack. People are acutely aware of such reddening in others.’