Beige all the Rage

Beige coloured walls induce more anger in subjects than other colours, even taupe, says Doctor Ruby Patterson, a result coming from a study of more than 5,000 people from around the Swansea, Wales, area.

Subjects were given a variety of tasks, ranging from simple and fun to hard and frustrating, as part of another study group, within different rooms of different colours. While brightly coloured, distinctly hued walls were all associated with higher levels of demonstrated emotion, beige walls had a consistent trend – ire.

“It was astounding just how varied the emotions were in other rooms compared to beige, specifically beige-II. While beige-I through to IV all produced similar results, beige-II was the outlier,” she says. “White, greys and blacks show little relation to emotion, whereas deep colours inspired more emotional responses to questions and tasks given.”

When asked why beige would trigger an almost exclusively angry emotion in candidates, Ruby is hesitant to answer.

“Who can say exactly? It could be that beige is to non-descript as to be associated with everything mundane, such as parchment and doughy bread. We expected it would have produced feelings of boredom or, at the most, frustration. The results we saw were nothing short of violent.”

So violent, in fact, that in three out of the five sessions involving beige, each with different groups of people, members would ultimately physically fight and draw blood.

“We did notice that as soon as blood was spilt, the tensions decreased and apologies were issued,” she said.

She hopes to follow on from these studies to see whether drawing blood can be used to settle conflicts. The implications have wide ranging application from boardroom negotiations to diplomatic relations.

“Imagine being able to bring matters to a head with a change in wall colour, only to resolve them almost immediately with some well coordinated violence,” she says.

18 Holes or 40 Winks?

Watching paint dry is more mentally stimulating than watching a match of golf, according to a report released by Neufchatel Research Insititute.

Candidates were given various interactive tasks, such as playing games or reading books, while others were given passive tasks such as watching television or, in some cases, watching paint dry. Each wore a calibrated cap hooked up to an EEG to record the activity of the brain.

While it may come as no surprise that passive tasks produced brain patterns closely resembling sleep, what scientists were not expecting is that watching golf produced similar results.

“In fact the brain was demonstrating cycles akin to phase 2 sleep in the ‘golf’ subjects. They had effectively switched off. The ‘paint’ subjects actually had a higher level of brain function,” says Renee Curvelle, member of the research team.

Delving into the possible causes of the result proved insightful.

“It seems that in a minority of candidates, watching the sport elicited an excited response. For the majority, though, their brain went through stages of annoyance, boredom, then active imagination to relieve that boredom, finally reaching a quiescent acceptance, at which point it shut down. The ‘paint’ watchers, in contrast, did not exhibit the acceptance stage and remained in the imagination stage,” Renee says.

The study hopes to shed light on sleep disorders related to over-stimulation of the brain and develop non-drug alternatives.

“It is possible that, in the future, rather than prescribing sedatives, we might find doctors prescribing a comfy chair and watching mundane sports like golf.”ChesterLogoSmall