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Blue helps you think outside the box.

Blue helps us think outside the box.

Color affects how our mind works. I have always been interested in color psychology, and how different colors can influence our moods and feelings.

I came across this study by a team at the University of British Columbia . It was published earlier this month and it highlights how the brain reacts to the colors red and blue. Red appears to improve a person’s attention to detail while blue inspires creativity.

The participants in the study were given a series of cognitive tests, involving computer screens colored either red or blue. When the tests were done on a red screen, the participants memorized more words.

Those who used blue computer screens to perform creative works scored much higher than those who used red screens. For instance, when told to think of different uses for a brick, the red group thought of practical things like building a house, whereas the blue group came out with other imaginative uses such as using the brick to make a paperweight or a pet scratching post.

Juliet Zhu, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of British Columbia, who conducted the study with doctoral student Ravi Mehta, said in The New York Times: “If you’re talking about wanting enhanced memory for something like proofreading skills, then a red color should be used…”

But for “a brainstorming session for a new product or coming up with a new solution to fight child obesity or teenage smoking…then you should get people into a blue room.”

It’s probably impractical for most of us to find a red or blue room to work in. A more practical method is to surround ourselves with blue objects to ignite creativity and red ones for detail-oriented activities.

Personally, I find yellow to be a great color that sparks creativity and mental energy. In fact, in color psychology, yellow is associated with the sun, optimism, creativity and is said to stimulate the intellect. Even a small object, like a yellow mug or a bowl of lemons can have a positive effect.

Red helps in detail-oriented tasks.

Red helps in detail-oriented tasks.

Yellow stimulates the intellect. (Photos courtesy of Photos8.com)

Yellow stimulates the intellect. (Photos courtesy of Photos8.com)

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