Color’s impact on maximal torque production – Casting a light on the timing of viewing red

Björn Krenn, Benedikt Mitter, Pascal Bauer and Harald Tschan

University of Vienna. Centre for Sport Science and University Sports, Department of Sports Sciences, Vienna, Austria

Previous research has suggested that viewing the color red immediately prior and during motor performance facilitates motor action. However, viewing red at a delay prior to performance should cause a decline in motor action. In the current study we tested these assumptions. Participants performed maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) of the right knee extensors and rated the quality of each attempt. In the first experiment (n = 58) instructions in red, blue or gray (matched on lightness/saturation) were shown in a randomized order on a computer screen from five seconds prior to and during MVICs. Results revealed a significantly higher rate of torque development and better ratings when viewing red. In the second experiment (n = 32) color manipulated instructions (red, blue, gray) were shown from 50 to 40 seconds prior to MVICs. The results did not show the assumed decline when viewing red at a delay prior to motor action.

KEYWORDS: hue, force, performance, threat, cognition.