Inside info -

Friday 25 November 2022

Bet You Buy The Red Car

What's your favourite colour? Red, blue, orange, purple? In truth, it could well be anything from the spectrum. You know, I'm sure if George Orwell had been looking at colour charts instead of writing Animal Farm he would have made this famous quote: ''All colours are equal, but some are more equal than others.''  I would hazard a guess that if you went to buy a car you'd pick the red one over the brown? Whether we like it or not, our preference for certain colours is based within biology and psychology. 

Have you been influenced by the mysterious power of colours? If you're not careful colours could addle your mind and turn your brains to a bright green jelly. 

Now let's face it, we just instinctively know more buyers would choose the red car. It's the same as someone offering you a plate of biscuits - that bright green one spiked with food colouring may stand out from the crowd but it may as well have been touched by a leper's hand for all the likelihood it will be eaten. 


How about a drink of brown tomato juice? Wait a moment while I take it back to the kitchen and pump it full of artificial colours. You just can't get enough of that new bright red concoction. 

Blimey! These colours are making me behave irrationally. 

Colours are rooted in our emotional responses. But what could this mean from a gambling perspective? 

Is that why lady luck invites us to bet on the grey horse even though it has terrible form? I saw that lucky black cat this morning so I'm betting on the horse with noire in its name.  

In 1973, biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, observed that ''nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.'' 

An article published in 2010 by psychologists Palmer & Schloss tested the theory that human colour preference is adaptive. That people are more likely to survive and reproduce successfully if they are attracted to objects with colours that ''look good'' to them and they will avoid colours which ''look bad'' to them. 

I'm never going to look at those coloured lottery balls in the same light again. However, if blue has always been lucky for you then don't be surprised if you fancy Chelsea for a football flutter. Perhaps that isn't such a surprise when most people favour colours associated with the sky and clean water. 

Would you dive into brown water? 

Their study found that brightly saturated colours were preferred over the same hue that were muted or pastel. Brown and green were significantly less preferred than orange and yellow. Bright blues, reds and green were the mostly highly favoured colours. 

But are these colour preferences based on nature or nurture? Interestingly, researchers found that Japanese colour preferences were different from American suggesting a cultural origin. 

Importantly most colours are associated differently in relation to different objects. You wouldn't have any qualms about drinking chocolate milk because it's brown.

However, all this research and our preferences can give greater insight to why - at times - we make certain decisions. 

The next time you consider a gamble, take a moment to consider if the colour of the team shirt, the racing silks or your liking for red on the roulette table is really a rational decision?

Martin Seligman said magenta was his favourite colour because of the amazing effect of the colour on the human body.