New Delhi: A new study has found that when humans see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful.
The findings may have applications for sporting and other activities in which a brief burst of strength and speed is needed, such as weightlifting. But the authors caution that the colour energy boost is likely short-lived.
"Red enhances our physical reactions because it is seen as a danger cue," said coauthor Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and a lead researcher in the field of colour psychology.
"Humans flush when they are angry or preparing for attack. People are acutely aware of such reddening in others and it`s implications," he said.
But threat is a double-edged sword, argued Elliot and coauthor Henk Aarts, professor of psychology at Utrecht University, in the Netherlands.
Along with mobilizing extra energy, "threat also evokes worry, task distraction, and self-preoccupation, all of which have been shown to tax mental resources," they explained in the study.
"Colour affects us in many ways depending on the context," said Elliot, whose research also has documented how men and women are unconsciously attracted to the opposite sex when they wear red.
"Those colour effects fly under our awareness radar," he said.
The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Emotion.