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Red Study

Essay by   •  February 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  309 Words (2 Pages)  •  697 Views

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Can the color red hurt test results?

We all know that when a student gets a test back they never want to see it covered in red marks, but a new study shows that seeing the color red before a test can actually hurt a student’s test scores. Red is the color most associated with failure or something wrong, therefore making the viewer doubtful of what they doing or going to do. Red has also been proven to be a threatening, arousing, or exciting color. A study was done on college students to see if viewing the color red before a test could be harmful to their grades, even if it is just briefly.

Six total experiments were done, all with similar results. Seventy-one college students from across America were chosen to take a five minute test. No one was expected to finish the test in the allotted time. The students were told to get as many problems completed before the five minute period was up. Before the test the students were given a card with a participant number written on it. The number was written in black, green, or red. The test results showed that the students with the red participant number scored more than 20 percent lower than any other test group. The researchers explained the results by saying, “the color red would impair performance on achievement tasks, because red is associated with the danger of failure in achievement contexts and evokes avoidance motivation.” Some possible problems with this study include the short amount of time allowed for the test, and the unusual testing methods.

The color red has been ingrained in our nature to be a color of warning, or avoidance, as seen in stop signs, fire trucks, and most often tests. Therefore it would make sense that red would cause students to have bad grades on tests.

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