From the New York Times:
Reinvent Wheel? Blue Room. Defusing a Bomb? Red Room.Trying to improve your performance at work or write that novel? Maybe it’s time to consider the color of your walls or your computer screen.If a new study is any guide, the color red can make people’s work more accurate, and blue can make people more creative.In the study, published Thursday on the Web site of the journal Science, researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted tests with 600 people to determine whether cognitive performance varied when people saw red or blue. Participants performed tasks with words or images displayed against red, blue or neutral backgrounds on computer screens.Red groups did better on tests of recall and attention to detail, like remembering words or checking spelling and punctuation. Blue groups did better on tests requiring imagination, like inventing creative uses for a brick or creating toys from shapes.“If you’re talking about wanting enhanced memory for something like proofreading skills, then a red color should be used,” said Juliet Zhu, an assistant professor of marketing at the business school at the University of British Columbia, who conducted the study with Ravi Mehta, a doctoral student.But for “a brainstorming session for a new product or coming up with a new solution to fight child obesity or teenage smoking,” Dr. Zhu said, “then you should get people into a blue room.”The question of whether color can color performance or emotions has fascinated scientists, not to mention advertisers, sports teams and restaurateurs.