Friday, April 27, 2012

Do Red Cars Attract Police?

In today’s era of radar and laser detectors, and the infamous heartless red-light cameras, the implied answer would be no. Most police officers will explain that if you’re speeding, you’re going to be pulled over no matter the color of your car. But could law enforcement subconsciously focus on bright colors, and red in particular?

They might be, at least based on research conducted by Dr. Mark Changizi, professor of Human Cognition at 2AI Labs. A scientist with expertise in theoretical neurobiology, vision, cognitive science, Changizi’s blog biography details his studies as a way to “grasp the ultimate foundations underlying why we think, feel and see as we do.”
According to his studies, our eyes have evolved to detect subtle changes in blood oxygenation. In simple terms: we notice pigment changes when, for example, someone turns red with anger or pale with fright. “It’s all about emotions,” says Changizi. “Our eyes are designed to see these color changes.”
Different emotional states depend on how oxygenated your blood is. “Red is a symbol of strength physiologically,” says Changizi, while mentioning recent studies that have proven wearing red sportswear leads to a higher probability of winning. Changizi says cultural factors also play an important role.
Millions of years of evolution, along with some inventive marketing, means that bright colors, especially reds, could simply be hard-wired in our minds as being powerful, fast and strong. Just don’t try to talk your way out of a speeding ticket by informing a police officer that he was genetically programmed to ticket your little red sports car.

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