If the bland walls in your hospital’s treatment area could use a coat of paint, you may want to consider using a shade of red. And if you want to encourage brainstorming in your conference room, try decorating with blue. According to a new study, certain colors may help your team members perform better.
The study, led by Juliet Zhu of the University of British Columbia, and published in the journal Science, found that the color red causes people to think practically and pay attention to detail, while the color blue sparks creativity and exploration. Zhu concluded that because red typically signals danger, it slows people down, forcing them to pay close attention to tasks. And since people associate blue with the sky, freedom, and peace, they tend to think outside the box when surrounded by the color.
Researchers found these results by showing students images on either a red or a blue screen and documenting their reactions. For example, students shown a brick against a red background tended to list practical uses for the object, like building a house. Sudents shown a brick against a blue background came up with more creative responses, like making a paperweight or building a cat scratching post.
The study focused on hue, so more research on brightness and intensity may be needed. But if you’re looking to brighten up your practice’s walls, choose your colors wisely and you’ll get the most out of your team.