What links speed, power, and the color red? Hint: it's not a sports car. It's your muscles.
A new study, published in the latest issue of the journal Emotion, finds that when humans see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful. And people are unaware of the color's intensifying effect.
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 color energy boost is likely short-lived.
"Red enhances our physical reactions because it is seen as a danger cue," explains coauthor Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and a lead researcher in the field of color psychology. "Humans flush when they are angry or preparing for attack," he explains. "People are acutely aware of such reddening in others and it's implications."
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