February 6th, 2009

In the Defense of Blue

So I heard the audio version of this story today on the radio http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100301582
To quote from the article:
The experiments showed that with the red background, people did as much as 31 percent better at tasks like proofreading or solving anagrams, which require attention to detail. But for creative tasks, like designing a child's toy, a blue background improved performance."

"We associate red with danger and mistakes," says Ravi Mehta, the lead author of the study, which was published online by the journal Science. "So what happens is this leads to avoidance motivation. People try to avoid mistakes and danger. That makes them focus on details."

"Blue, on the other hand, encourages an "approach motivation," Mehta says. People relax, becoming more open to new ideas and creative solutions to problems."

If this research is valid (and I'm not making the claim that it is), maybe sticking with a blue palette in the default Fedora desktop image for every single release is exactly what we want for the project to encourage an "approach motivation." And then when you sign up to be a package reviewer you're asked to switch to a red desktop background to go into avoidance mode.

Though it does make me wonder what brown motivates.