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Color of Influence

Recent research on color and influence demanded an article because the research is so compelling.

You're smart enough to take what I'm going to show you and use it in your field. Sales, marketing, management, relationships, even with your family.

  • What color do you want your team's uniforms to be?

  • What does changing hair color from brunette to blonde do to men?

  • What color do you want the walls to be in your room?

  • How about the color of your car?

  • More importantly, what color uniform do you want your POLICE officers to be wearing?

There is a potentially disturbing trend of departments changing their police uniforms to black, in the United States.

But, maybe Canada is showing more wisdom by not doing so, fully aware of the link between the color black and aggression.

I'll come back to this in a minute.

Past research makes it abundantly clear that "uniforms"` (suit/tie, fast food, department store, military) cause better behavior, better performance, better cohesion and an abundance of other benefits to the point where almost every business should have a "uniform" code.

Uniforms serve so many functions that a company that doesn't use them is missing out on profits.

All of this in mind, researchers start trying to figure out if the Hooters uniform (orange shorts, t-shirt) should indeed be orange. We'll talk about why one of the worst colors you could pick for a uniform worked to help build a highly profitable time.

What color should a sports team's uniform be?

It depends on what you want from your team.

Black uniforms were correlated with the most penalized football teams in the U.S.

This doesn't mean they COMMITTED more penalties, though they MIGHT have. It DOES mean that referees flagged teams wearing black significantly more often than all other colors!

Experienced referees who viewed staged games found that the black teams were more aggressive. But they weren't. White and black uniforms were both playing similarly.

Meanwhile, hockey teams became more aggressive in terms of minutes in the penalty box when they changed their colors to black, and the teams that started with black were more aggressive overall.

Around the world, there are significant correlations with black uniforms in sports and increased aggression.

In one city, police were changed out of their navy blue uniforms to a more casual look. Then there were more assaults ON police officers.

That's not cool, so that city returned to navy blue.

Some police forces view lighter blue as a benefit because it's more calming. They know that black increases aggression, and the perception of aggression.

In the U.K., scientific research was done revealing that dark uniforms increase favorable impressions by the public...completely contradicting the previous research.

Back to sports. If black is linked to aggression in the USA, then maybe things ARE different in the UK?

The most recent study just out of Germany looked at color and uniforms found that the color red might be a factor in win/loss records.

Check this out: Tae Kwon Do bouts....clips were shown to 42 experienced referees.

Then they showed them the same clips, but digitally manipulated the colors to change the colors (blue and red) of the combatants.

Fighters wearing red were awarded 13% more points than when they were blue (remember all that changed was the color of the uniform through computer color manipulation!).


Now that is nothing short of amazing. A 2% difference in points would have been BIG. But 13%?!

And back in the UK, the Brits grabbed onto this research and found that teams wearing red in the English game of football (soccer) win 10% more games than others.

Now this could be because the dominating team in the sport has always worn red and skewed the results. But one thing we know for sure is that red kicked blue in Tae Kwon Do.

Maybe culture plays a role in what color is seen as aggressive and maybe there IS a link between color and wins and losses.

Now, on to the important question that you've always wondered....

Do Blondes Have More Fun (and Influence More?)

Certainly there is a link between a woman's hair color and the effect it has on men.

Earlier research has shown men's ability to complete general knowledge tests was lessened after exposing men to pictures of blondes.


We already know that attractive women cause men to behave impulsively in decision making. Why blonde over brunette in the "making men even dumber" category?

One scientist argues it's a modeling illusion. In other words, the men see the blonde as a "dumb blonde" and they mirror their own internal perception of blondes.

Maybe. That's certainly one way to interpret the results.

Perhaps the answer is more evolutionary. Maybe not.

What's particularly humorous is that upon reporting of the research, some blondes took offense at the results of the research, as if it was "about them." Now that is interesting.

The fact is you can ask any attractive woman who has colored her hair from brown to blonde and she will tell you EXACTLY how much different life is. The "attention" paid by men is dramatic by comparison to brunettes.

In the UK, about 1/3 of the women walking down the street are hair dye.

Only 3% of British women are actually blonde.

Again, it tells you something.

Color matters more than you can imagine, whether it's the color of someone's hair, and the added effect it has on men, or the color of Officer Johnson's all matters a lot.

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