Avoid Before Exams… Can a Color Make You Dumber?

Can particular colors affect a student’s performance on exams? Color expert Mark D. Fairchild says yes. He cites recent research establishing an “aversion” response to the color red. “If people are exposed to red just before taking an exam they perform slightly less well than if they were exposed to a different color. The cause of this aversion response is not yet known; it could be learned or it could be something intrinsic that causes us to ‘fear’ red (just a little).

This has also been found in sporting events where athletes dressed in red tended to be more successful . . . perhaps because their opponents were viewing it and having an aversion response (rather than the red having an effect on the athlete wearing it).”


Colin Wilson, an investigator of mysteries, offers a reasonable explanation for the red-aversion phenomenon. “Psychological tests have shows that when subjects are exposed to bright red, blood pressure increases and the heartbeat speeds up. (Exposure to green causes a drop in blood pressure; the same is true of dark blue.) . . . This is largely explainable in perfectly ordinary terms. Green soothes us because it is the color of nature. . . . Red excites because it is the color of blood and therefore of violence. Blue has a subduing effect because it is the color of nightfall. This has always been so, since animals first developed color vision” (Mysteries, 2006).

Prof. Fairchild concurs that color most certainly plays a large role in one’s emotional life, though the effects are inconsistent. “The effects (both the type and strength) are very individual. A color that makes me feel happy or energized might make you feel sad or tired. There are various reasons for these responses, but essentially they are learned from either cultural practices or significant individual events. There is a lot of misinformation on this topic. A good book for more information is Faber Birren’s Color and Human Response.”


Some Blues and Greens to Seek Out at Test Time:

test exam_on_field

Study green_test

test studyhall

fifth_grade test

testblue Exam_Green

Some Reds to Avoid at Test Time:

test_your_red 3rd_grade_homicide

Test_Draw its_a_test

Fight_Test 6th_grade

Through_Tests grade_for_mood__C

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Website: http://www.OneLetterWords.com
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

Author: Prof. Oddfellow