Red boosts attention, blue creativity

VANCOUVER: The colour red boosts attention to detail in tasks such as memorisation, while blue encourages creativity, according to a study published online on Thursday in the journal Science.

The findings apply to advertising, warnings on medication, and especially environmental design for offices or classrooms, said Rui (Juliet) Zhu.

Zhu, who wrote the study with PhD student Ravi Mehta, recommends that marketers selling creative or innovative products use blue, and brainstorming sessions be held in blue rooms. Using red in advertising would prompt consumers to pay more attention to product details, she said.

She said red enhances performance on jobs that require alert vigilance because people associated red with stop signs, emergencies, ambulances and danger. People react to red with an “avoidance mechanism … you’re likely to be vigilant, so you do better on detail-oriented tasks,” she said.

Blue encouraged creativity because people associate it with “ocean, sky, freedom, openness, peacefulness,” said Zhu. A peaceful environment “makes people engage in exploratory behaviour and enhances their creativity”. afp

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