In answering a question about the effects of viewing different colors, I wanted to make a claim about the psychological effects of the color red – specifically the popular belief that it causes neurological arousal or stress. However, not only did I have difficulty finding a source to back up the belief, I actually found one that attempted to refute it (“Colors, Arousal, Functionalism, and Individual Differences,” Robinson, 2004).

What are the measurable psychological effects of the color red? Does it actually cause arousal or stress as widely believed?

  • Red is considered lucky in China, and associated with danger in the West Are these examples of the "psychological" effect that you are asking about, or are you looking for some cause/effect that's more physiological/inbred and less sociological/learned?
    – ChrisW
    Aug 5, 2013 at 11:25
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    I'm not concerned so much with the cause as the effect. My claim was about neurological arousal and stress, and Robinson's claim is about arousal and affect (emotion). If cultural associations produce those effects, so be it! Robinson's claim has made me wonder whether color actually has a psychological effect at all, and if so whether it is physiological, sociological, or both. Aug 5, 2013 at 11:36
  • There is some statistical evidence that this is true. See my question/answer here: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/7532/…
    – matt_black
    Dec 22, 2013 at 16:18
  • Thanks for the feedback. I made some light edits to bring the question more in line with what I meant. I don’t think “arousal” and “affect” are too broad though, as I mean them in the specific psychological senses of heightening consciousness and affecting mood. I can also remove the diversion about Robinson’s paper if it helps. May 27, 2015 at 23:22
  • @BraddSzonye I appreciate your edit, but the question is still too broad imo. It's still a completely open question on the effects of red. "Arousal" simply means "any reaction" and "affect" means "any feeling", so you can't get broader than this.
    – Sklivvz
    May 27, 2015 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


Someone made a test and found that orange and red would increase blood pressure:


My hypothesis was correct, that color can affect a person's blood pressure.

Someone also tested that some colors (red, for example) have influence on how someone evaluates the time that a page takes to download. source

A final experiment reveals that color not only affects perceived download quickness but also has consequences for users' evaluations of the Web site and their likelihood of recommending it to others.

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    I'm not sure science fairs qualify as reputable sources.
    – Publius
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:07

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