Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

June 12, 2014

Runaway from Red

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 1:37 PM

A study conducted by Andrew Elliot of University of Rochester and Markus Maier of University of Munich and their colleagues, showed that red type on a page or a red cover adversely influences our performance in tests. In other words, red arouses avoidance behavior. To show this they divided participants into several groups and gave them verbal and mathematical tests. The only difference between the groups was the color of the participant number appearing at the top of each page. For one group, the number was written in red while for the other group the number was written in another color (such as green or black).

The results were astonishing; those whose tests had a red participant number performed significantly worse than those who had a green or a black number.

Amazingly, another recent study conducted by Elliot and Maier and their colleagues showed that you don’t even have to see the actual color red to influence your performance on a test, simply viewing the word ‘red’ is enough. So when designing a test or engaging your readers in a cognitive task, avoid the color red as it may undermine cognitive performance.


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