Red might encourage rule-breaking

24 Hours Vancouver reported on a study co-authored by UBC marketing professor Charles Weinberg that found red might not have the effect many people believe it does.

Three experiments tracked how seeing the colour red affects a person’s willingness to prank call, disagree with social norms, and abstain from sunscreen – red was associated with “non-compliance” while blue and white were not.

“Red generally has this notion of warning, and sort of induces people to take preventative behaviour. But it might not quite work in situations where you’re a really high sensation seeker,” Weinberg said. “Unlike stop signs, where they’re an established sign we all recognize, in relatively new events where speed and dangers is involved, red potentially could have an effect and be an area of concern.”