The Color Red Makes Us Quicker, Psychologists Say

Looking for the right hue to paint your weight room? Try red—it may well enhance your performance. A new study by psychologists says that seeing the color red leads humans to react more quickly and more forcefully. Perhaps predictably, the subconscious reaction is motivated by subconscious cues meant to better prepare us for danger, and the boost is short-lived. Just like steroids, however, there's a downside to the enhanced performance. Because our reaction to red is based on sensing a threat, it can also lead to "worry, task distraction, and self-preoccupation, all of which have been shown to tax mental resources."

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