Power of Red

Power of Red

Competitors who wear red are more likely to win a sports game.

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Researchers found that those who wear red tops, jackets, or clothing score 10 percent more in any competition than if they were in another color.

Experts believe that red could make individuals and teams feel more confident as well as being perceived by others as more aggressive and dominant.

The findings could explain why Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal, have been so successful. On the other hand, the results could suggest that the success of those teams has given those that wear the red color more confidence.

United and Liverpool have won a record 18 league titles, while Arsenal has had an uninterrupted run in the top flight for longer than any other team. England's victorious World Cup team in 1966, led by Bobby Moore wore red, instead of their usual white, and have not won a World Cup or European Championship since.

The study, by German sports psychologists at the University of Munster, was reported in New Scientist magazine. They showed video clips of taekwondo bouts to 42 experienced referees. One combatant wore blue, the other red. They then showed them the same clips but digitally manipulated the clothing to swap the colors. The fighters wearing red were given an average of 13 percent more points than when they were blue.

"If one competitor is strong and the other weak, it won't change the outcome of the fight," said Norbert Hagemann, who led the study. "But the closer the levels, the easier it is for the color to tip the scale."

In 2004 scientists at Durham University also looked at how color influenced sporting competitiveness. They analyzed Olympic combat sports such as boxing, taekwondo, Graeco-Roman wrestling, and freestyle wrestling and found that nearly 55 percent of bouts were won by the competitor in red.

"There is now good experimental evidence that red stimuli are perceived as dominant and that they cause negative effects on performance in those viewing them," said Robert Burton, one of the researchers. "It is plausible that wearing red also makes individuals feel more confident, although this hasn't yet been tested."

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