Posted in biology

Color affects creativity

For a long time psychologists couldn’t agree on which color was better for our brains: red or blue. Now a series of tests has come up with the answer: Both!

The researchers working on this very important issue have found that seeing the color red makes the brain wary and alert, and therefore better at paying attention to details or concentration. Blue, on the other hand, makes us more relaxed and open to new ideas and creative. So according to this work, accountants should have bright red offices. Or something like that.

As the NPR story pointed out, however, seeing someone wearing red does not make us more wary of asking them out; in fact quite the opposite. Maybe it just makes us that much more alert? Perhaps there are still a few kinks to work out in the conclusions of the work, but still good to know.

I wonder what, if anything, this implies about Picasso and his blue period, the fact that the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style has a reddish cover, and so on.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.