Have you ever noticed that dull green colour that they use to paint the walls in various buildings? In hospitals it’s apparently meant to make you feel calm. In the copshop I assume it’s intended to make you feel confessional. In a manufacturing plant, I always assumed it was to make you more productive.

It’s actually a bit more complex, the effects of the colour of the environment on how we behave and perform. In the States, students taking tests in yellow rooms do 10 to 15% better than they do when sitting the same tests in rooms of different colours. Perhaps not too unexpectedly, babies in yellow rooms cried more, because the ability of yellow to aid concentration doesn’t help when you want to relax and sack out.

Paradoxically, blue lighting, which you might expect to depress mood, seems to be a bit of a booster. The ever pragmatic Japanese have installed blue lights on some station platforms to counteract suicides, though given the overcrowding on commuter trains in the Land of the Rising Sun I’d be surprised if there’s too big an effect. Some whizzkids in the US think blue light may be useful in treating dementia. I don’t know what the thinking is here.

If you’re a sportsman, you may not want to wear black. Some lunatic, with more time on his hands than he should have, analysed American football and ice hockey penalties, and found that referees awarded more penalties against teams wearing black than against teams wearing other colours. This will be distressing news for the New Zealand national rugby team, though it hasn’t stopped them being the most successful team of all time. Yet another example of a sport invented in England that we then get stuffed at when the rest of the world adopts it.

Labour’s recent drubbing may be simply down to the colour of the clothes the candidates wore. Men wearing red are seen as more  aggressive and downright scary than those wearing blue. Odd that. Milliband may look a bit odd, but not downright scary. On the other hand, Iain Duncan Smith, in blue, scares the bejasus out of me. Red is a good colour if you’re a sportsman, though. You have a better chance of victory. This does not seem to apply to Manchester United since the departure of Alex Ferguson.

In some prison cells in the US they use pink walls to calm prisoners, which is a bit of an uphill task in an American jail as far as I can tell. Some sneaky football coaches are alleged to have painted the visiting side’s changing room in pink to pacify them. Whatever gives you the edge, eh?

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