Psych-Quotes: How Color Influences Our Thinking
Color actually influences the ways we think and this often occurs without our awareness. In my cognitive psychology class, my professor talked about a study where blue can cause us to feel more relaxed and think more creatively while red causes us to feel more alert and think more attentively. And how the color affects us depends on our association we have for the colors.
Everyone shares different experiences, but for many the color red is related to ‘ambulance, stop signs, red lights’ that causes us to pay more attention while blue is related to the ‘sky’ which makes us feel free and more opened.
The study conducted by Ravi Mehta, professor of business specializing in consumer behavior, had participants perform a series of psychological tasks that were either attention-based (red) or creativity-based (blue) backgrounds. Then the subjects were asked to choose toothpaste that either prevented cavities or whitened teeth. The participants who were affected by the color red were more likely to choose the cavities prevention while the blue participants chose the whitening teeth.
Participants exposed to the tasks in the red background were subconsciously primed to become more careful. The red reminded them of stop signs, stop lights, ambulance that cause them to avoid or choose things that helped them avoid some problems (in this case, cavities).
While the participants exposed to the blue background were reminded of the sky, freedom and growth. So they choose to approach situations that helped them gain. In this case, to gain whiter teeth.
Colors, hence, do really play in our cognition. We are affected by different colors and we don’t even know it. The effects are real. Since we know this, we might want to be more observant and careful.
Bonus Studying Tip: To study more attentively, study with a red background or to think more creatively or be more creative, study with a blue background. A study in my class talked about how people doing tests in red papers as opposed to blue or white were able to score higher.