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SHOPPING …which means that teams playing in black shirts are at a disadvantage… Even the neutral referee has his favourites, even if only subconsciously. In a 1988 study, the US psychologists Mark Frank and Thomas Gilovich compared the statistics of the NFL American football league and the NHL ice hockey league to see how many penalties referees awarded against teams from 1970 to 1986. Surprisingly perhaps, the impartial referees were considerably more likely to penalise those in black shirts. According to the scientists, this is down to an unconscious thought pro- cess: the colour black signifies aggressiveness – and when a referee observes the behaviour of a player in a black shirt, he automatically subordinates his objectivity and is more prone to handing out a penalty. …and teams in red jerseys are likely to do well Germany's record championship winners Bayern Munich gen- erally appear in red shirts. The Schalke 04 team, previously con- sidered the country's favourite team, are nicknamed "the Royal Blues". Coincidence? Hardly, ac- cording to Russell Hill and Robert Barton from the University of Dur- ham. Their 2005 study analysed the results of several martial arts events at the 2004 Athens Olym- pics, in particular boxing, taek- wondo and wrestling. In each of the sports the opponents were assigned red or blue outfits. Can you guess the outcomes? Yes, the competitor in the red shirt won in two-thirds of all instances. Light-coloured ceilings appear higher That was the finding revealed by Daniel Ober- feld-Twistel from the Johannes Gutenberg Uni- versity of Mainz. In his 2010 study he devised a virtual 3D room. Twelve volunteers were then asked to guess the height of the room. The out- come was that the lighter the colour that the ceilings and walls were painted, the higher the test subjects thought they were. Colours help us recognise faces When we look at someone's face, we are extremely quick to determine whether the person is male or female. Accord- ing to Frédéric Gosselin from the University of Montreal, this is primarily down to facial colouring. In his 2005 study, the scientist showed 30 test subjects photos of the faces of 300 fair-skinned people. In three out of four instances, the subjects were able to identify the correct gender. The most important criterion for their choices was the colouring of the mouth area, where women have higher a proportion of green tones, while men display a greater degree of red. 6 7 9 10 People like blue In their 2007 study, Anya Hurlbert and Yazhu Ling from the University of Newcastle let 208 volunteers pick their favourite colour of two coloured squares. As expected, blue was very popular indeed. The technical term is the “blue-seven phenomenon”: Most people prefer the colour blue and the number seven. 8 33

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