Seeing Red


Educators, you may not want to wear that red blouse on exam day if you want to give your students a fighting chance at passing. According to a recent study done by researchers at the University of Rochester, introducing the color red—even a “hint” or “flash” of it—prior to administering a test can negatively affect your students’ performance.

These researchers have bridged the color red with “avoidance motivation” which means the aesthetic value of the bold color may cause the brain to go into hibernation. Red is associated with danger, blood-letting, stop signs, not to mention that ugly red marker teachers are so fond of using. While red uniforms give a psychological edge in sports, sitting next to a person who is wearing red while taking a test may do anything but.

Here’s what I’m thinking: if you find yourself in a “testy” situation, slug down some Red Bull beforehand because we all know what happens when a bull sees red.

You know, just in case.