Logging you in, please wait...
You are logged in
Log in to your account

Seeing red?

From: Selected Treats,

Seeing red?

Do you feel sluggish when surrounded by shades of dreary grey, suddenly calm when looking at soothing blue, or find that a shot of yellow can easily be used to brighten up your day?

It’s long been said that colour can affect your mood, but recent research suggests that it may be able to alter your athletic performance too. A study published by the University of Rochester has found that exposure to the colour red (traditionally associated with anger) can seemingly make muscles respond faster and exert more force.

The results, published in psychological journal Emotion, compared students’ muscle reactions in two experiments; in one, 30 children aged 9 to 16 pinched and held open a metal clasp after reading their participant number written in either red or grey crayon. In the second, 46 undergraduates squeezed a grip with their dominant hand as hard as they could whilst reading the word “squeeze” displayed on a computer screen on an equally bright red, blue, or grey background.

During both experiments, seeing the color red intensified the strength of the participant’s grip and during the second task, it also increased their reaction speed. Although these findings may seem obscure, they could have important implications in sports and other activities where a quick burst of energy is needed.

However, there may be an emotional compromise if red is used as a temporary brawn boost. “Red enhances our physical reactions because it is seen as a danger cue,”explained researcher Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the university.This means that it can also provoke feelings of worry, distraction, and self-preoccupation without us realising, which could actually hinder performance.

Previous studies have also shown that catching a glimpse of red can be counterproductive for those performing skilled motor and mental tasks. Statistics show that athletes competing against an opponent wearing red are more likely to lose, and students who see the color red before a test don’t perform as well.

“Color affects us in many ways depending on the context,” Elliot concluded, “[and the] effects [often] fly under our awareness radar .” It seems that if you want to enhance your physical prowess with a flash of fuchsia, you’d better learn to channel that extra adrenaline in a positive way first.

To find out more about the effects of colour on mood and mentality, check out the Colour Therapy treatment page for facts and the latest deals.

Share this

Alison is a freelance journalist, blogger and life-long Londoner. A subject matter magpie and self-confessed make up junkie, if it's new, a little bit different and promises great things, she'll be onto it in a flash.

See my profile »

More Entries

Wahanda loves: Super-polishes

Wahanda loves: super strawberries

Spa of the week: Tylney Hall Hotel and Spa

Tried and tested: Perfect Posture Session at Anamaya

Wahanda guide: ironing out wrinkles with thermage

Tried and tested: Pre-wedding pamper package at Michaela Mitoi

Wahanda loves: summer spa-ing

Wahanda loves: Sweet summer nail art

Wahanda guide: Lee Garrett talks treating hair loss

Wahanda loves: shine in jewel tones this winter

Wahanda loves: skin soothing solutions for National Eczema Week

Wahanda guide: fix your feet and walk tall

Wahanda loves: post-holiday healing with essential oils

Wahanda news: Champneys Tring to launch fertility programme

Wahanda news: JooMo brings truly 'natural' beauty to UK shelves

Wahanda news: The Sanctuary joins Vogue's 'Fashion's Night Out'

Wahanda news: UK’s first children's acupuncture clinic opens in London

Wahanda loves: Olympic winners and their local spas

Wahanda news: Lifehouse Spa launches partnership with ESPA

Tried and tested: soothing spa kits from Keep Immaculate

Could a coffee fix improve your memory?

Wellness profile: Rebecca Mayhew

For fitness with a tree top twist, Go Ape

Is the secret to healthy eating written in the stars?

Turn back the clock with just a smile

Creativity's mane event: Psionics Hair Show 2011

Tried and tested: Vita Liberata self tan

Reassess your activity levels and improve your health

Revealing the June Wahandies winners - gentlemen, this month it's all about you!

Stress and the city

Stay sun aware: stay safe

Hypnobirthing hits Hollywood

Could back pain shrink your brain?

The Bikini Workout from Sienna Spa

Giving Britain something to smile about

The price of junk food? Britain's health

Uplifting skin solutions from down under – tried and tested: Sasy n Savy

Melvita opens enchanting eco store in Putney

Camouflage and cunning cover ups

Wahanda visits the Vitality show

Hypoxi therapy: more than just hype

McIndoe and PharmEcosse Ltd investigate the healing power of insulin

Radisson brings the stars to Guildford

Tried and tested: high glamour blow-out at The Blow Bar, Islington

Life's a BLEACH at Topshop

Be the mane attraction

Drastic divorce makeovers and promotion-seeking plastic surgery

Brow lifts to lift the pain of migraines

Bring out the bunting and balloons for our birthday bash!

Shun Cupid and get glammed up

The Mere the merrier this Valentine's!

Help to mend rather than break hearts this February

Woo your date with dated bookings

Dare to bare for these Valentine's treatments

Will you be adding budget beauty treatments to your basket?

Food for thought: National Obesity Week

Up your berry intake and lower your blood pressure

Take the plunge and sign up for Swimathon 2011

Saving face: women are budgeting for Botox

Get your skates on!

Sort out your seasonally stressed skin

Are you tough enough to take on the Soldier Challenge?

Restore your joie de vivre at The Vitality Show 2011

Make a day of your mani at Nailgirls, Islington

All Brits want for Christmas is their two front teeth

For magical Christmas gifts, look no further than Wahanda

Merry Fish-mas!

Have yourself an Elemis-y Christmas

New Year, new you: 2011 toning-up trends

Plum: the new fragrance by Mary Greenwell

Bliss Christmas Customer Event

Blister busting Botox?

Wellness profile: Anne Biging

Wahanda on wellness: An interview with Anne Biging, Healing Hotels of the World

Give in to a gill-ty pleasure as Aqua Sheko comes to Soho

Downward dog; upward spirits

Posh pooch pampering at Harrods

The (bleached) end of perfect dye jobs?

Pre-Xmas fun with The Beauty Lounge

Bird beauty: Flamingos paint their quills

Slim without visiting the gym

Dream a little dream WITH me

Celebs turn their backs on Botox

Feed your gums

Fab craze or plain crazy? The chipped varnish manicure

Like a gym bunny...

Top pampering with lustre and bling

Jet set beauty

Eastthorpe set to raise brows as it goes HD

Stay slim; make sure your wallet’s bulging

Monday’s child is... lactose intolerant?

Salvage your skin: how to eliminate stretch marks

The mane attraction

It’s strictly pilates, darling

Stub out your smoking habit

Coming soon: sunshine in a tube?

Women prefer to see their cups half full

Stay sharp: let your mind (and body) wander

Say bye-bye to your BMI?

The Tan Factor comes to town

Acupuncture baby, yeah!

Apples and pears

Exercise, socialise and challenge mental health stigma

Science has spoken: beat stress with massage

Shimmer this winter with silver locks

Think before you ink: time to zap those tatts?

Weird and wonderful wellness mongrels

Injecting trust into the cosmetic industry

Polish those pinkies in aid of breast cancer charities

Tried and tested: the hottest thing in detoxing, Iyashi Dome

A stem cell smile?

A stitch and line reverses time

Top of the chocs

Think pink this October

Your health’s best friend?

Forget man flu, is there such thing as fat flu?

Store-hoppers: splash out and treat your feet!

The Minx effect

The ins and outs of Olympia Beauty 2010

Five alternative therapies that could help you stay fighting fit

Stealthy secret surgery figures soar

Ditch the itch this autumn

One feline's rehab is coming along swimmingly

Put your best foot forward

Turn that frown upside down

Sniffing out some original exercise

Is CO2 the anti-ageing jab for you?

Kayoga™ - hit the beach and strike a pose

Champneys champions Breast Cancer Care

Cupping and meditation: Jessica Simpson's path to tranquility