Citation: Can Athletic Uniform Color Determine Winners and Losers? (2008, February 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-02-athletic-uniform-winners-losers.html It’s not uncommon for some athletes to have good luck charms, including the superstition that wearing certain colors may give them an edge on the competition. While some studies have found that, indeed, certain colors may increase the likelihood of winning in combat sports, a recent study shows that researchers must take into account potentially confounding factors when associating color with winning probability. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. However, the potential psychological effect of color in sport doesn’t end there. Numerous other studies have shown that other colors – notably red and orange – can signal aggression and dominance in a wide variety of organisms. Some research points out that, in fair-skinned humans, anger can cause the face to redden. Psychological research has also shown that color can impact an individual’s mood, behavior, brain activity, and even body posture. Perhaps due to these reasons, one study found that athletes in red have a winning bias over athletes in blue in a variety of sports, including men’s Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, boxing, and tae kwon do. Another study found that football and hockey teams with black uniforms receive more penalties than other teams. Some of these associations between color and performance may still very likely be true. Dijkstra and Preenan just advise that researchers be careful to account for all contributing factors when investigating color-associated winning biases in sports.“We do believe in the effect of red,” said Dijkstra. “Red is associated with anger, fear and failure in human societies; in many animals red increases the likelihood of winning. Yet, the findings of Hill and Barton (in 2005) that athletes in red win more often in four combat sports requires a re-evaluation, because their analysis may also be confounded by similar factors as described in our study for judo. Ultimately, experimental work is needed (also for the presumed lack of an effect of blue-white) to determine whether color biases winning in human sport.”More information: Dijkstra, Peter D. and Preenen, Paul T. Y. “No effect of blue on winning contests in judo.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.1700. Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Opponents compete in a judo match. Image credit: US Marine Corps.