The color red can make you feel hungrier and may even increase physical performance and attention to detail, making it a popular choice in restaurants, gyms, and academic settings.
The psychology of the color red
Color psychology is an interesting field. It explores how different colors can affect our mood, behavior, and perception without us really even noticing. It can even ramp up excitement levels.
As a warm color, red is also thought to stimulate our senses in a way that may increase our heart rate and even our blood pressure.
According to Scientific American (cited below):
“Some of the hue’s significance has a biological basis. Many humans get red in the face from increased blood flow when they are angry. A similar process activates a flush of embarrassment or a more flirtatious blush. Seeing red also triggers some surprising behaviors. For instance, drivers blocked in traffic by a red car react faster and more aggressively than drivers barred by vehicles of other colors.”
Red can evoke feelings of hunger and appetite. That’s why it’s often used in restaurants and food packaging. Studies have shown that people tend to eat more when they are surrounded by the color red.
Next time you drive around town, notice how many fast-food restaurants and other dining establishments use red in their logos and signage.
Red gets us moving – mentally and physically
In addition to its effects on appetite, the color red is also associated with physical performance and attention to detail. In fact, studies have shown that athletes who wear red uniforms or see the color red before a competition tend to perform better. They even have a higher chance of winning. This is because red can increase arousal and improve focus, which can be beneficial in athletic settings.
Similarly, the color red has been shown to improve performance in academic settings. Studies have found that students who are exposed to something red before an exam tend to perform better and have higher levels of concentration. That’s because red can increase attention to detail and improve memory retention.
Despite its many benefits, the color red can also have negative associations. We also tend to associate red with danger, warning signs, and stop signs. These can create feelings of stress and anxiety in some people.
In addition, some people tend to feel aggression and anger around this color. That’s why architects and designers often avoid using red in certain contexts, such as in hospitals and mental health facilities.