“Red wins”, “black wins” and “blue loses” effects are in the eye of beholder, but they are culturally universal: A cross-cultural analysis of the influence of outfit colours on sports performance

Polish Psychological Bulletin 45 (3):318-325 (2014)
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Although many studies have demonstrated an influence of uniform colors on sports performance, there are still more questions than answers regarding this issue. In our study, participants from Poland and China watched a two-minute video of a semi-professional boxing match. The participants viewed six different versions of the same fight - the original was modified to change the colors of the boxers’ trunks. We experimentally confirmed that “black wins” and “red wins” effects exist, but in a way that caused an erroneous perception of the number of blows landed by boxers wearing red and black trunks fighting against boxers in blue trunks. We also showed that both effects are similarly strong even in Chinese culture, where the color red has different connotations from those in Western cultures. Additionally, our results suggest that context might play a very important role in the assessments of the boxers - color only influenced the perception of the weaker boxer. Finally, our findings suggest that the topic of the influence of colors on sports competitions has not been thoroughly investigated and further studies are necessary.



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