In a Science article published last month, researchers confirmed that environmental colors have a measurable impact on our performance. From the New York Times‘ coverage:
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…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.
The Times goes on to incorporate other related studies. One example:
Then there was the cocktail party study, in which a group of interior designers, architects and corporate color scientists built model rooms decorated as bars in red, blue or yellow. They found that more people chose the yellow and red rooms, but that partygoers in the blue room stayed longer. Red and yellow guests were more social and active. And while red guests reported feeling hungrier and thirstier than others, yellow guests ate twice as much. Experts say colors may affect cognitive performance because of the moods they engender.
The full Times report is interesting.
(I’m glad we painted the new library blue. I’ll take all the creative help I can get!)
Image credit: Wikipedia.