5 Crazy Ways the Colors Red and Blue Control Your Life

#2. Heal You


Now we're getting into Star Trek territory. Different frequencies of light have actually been shown to help heal the cells of your body. NASA has been the leader in this research, because when you're out alone in space, you need every advantage you can get. And if your damaged cells could heal, say, 150 to 200 times faster, that would be a pretty good thing to have once we inevitably find some aliens to fight.

And when we start having sex with those aliens, it'll be equally useful.

NASA scientists found that that's exactly what happens when you expose cells to near-infrared light (light just beyond the red that we can see -- it's like a super red). High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or HEALS technology, condenses the power of 12 suns (not making this up) into a heatless device. By stimulating the cells with long wavelengths, it encourages growth and repair. They've used it to heal burns, diabetic skin ulcers and just about any other kind of hole you can imagine.

Specifically mouth holes. Five to 15 percent of cancer patients receiving radiotherapy develop a condition called mucositis, painful sores in the mouth, as if cancer wasn't enough. NASA discovered that just two weeks of using light therapy 88 seconds a day reduced pain in 96 percent of patients. Let's say that again. Powerful red flashlights can heal your flesh and ease your pain. Your move, Dr. McCoy.

"Crap, dial it back, we've turned him into a douche!"

Not to be outdone, blue has a few tricks up its azure sleeve as well. Blue light kills bacteria and reduces inflammation. Doctors have used it as a safe way to treat everything from plaque, gum disease and acne to the super-resistant staph infections MRSA and SARS. And in fact, purple and ultraviolet lights do it even better. Health officials have used UV rays as a disinfectant and to purify water for almost a hundred years.

You might recognize UV rays as the stuff that gives you sunburns. It's actually dangerous to most forms of life, even human cells. Blue is a better compromise -- it's safe to use on us, but microbes still don't like it. However, researchers have developed a special blend of safe purple and white light to disinfect hospitals. Chemical disinfectants can miss cracks and crevices, but this germ-slaying violet flashlight can shine into hard-to-reach places, helping to reduce the environmental transmission of pathogens. Purple: It's not just for talking dinosaurs and pimps anymore.

Which is why ravers never get sick.

#1. Influence How You Buy Things


You had to know this was coming -- companies don't spend millions thinking up logos and color schemes for nothing. It's all about pushing your color buttons.

For example, people bidding online will pay substantially more when there's a red background on the selling page, but only when they perceive that they are competing against others. If, on the other hand, you don't think anyone else is bidding against you, red will tempt you to lowball the seller -- it's all about winning. Either way, you're on your guard and out to get someone. So what happens when the background is blue? You're more generous and willing to pay more.

Stores have also found, through experience and several studies, that a blue environment leads to more purchases, fewer purchase postponements and a stronger inclination to shop and browse than a red environment does.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Via Wikimedia Commons

Via Wikimedia Commons
Shit, that reminds us, we need more peanut butter and condoms.

Even though it's been shown that people are definitely more attracted to bright, warm colors, it's the cooler, inviting shades of blue and green that are rated more positive and pleasant. They make people feel less cautious and safer.

Not that blue works 100 percent of the time -- it depends on the product. If red makes people more watchful and defensive, companies that are promoting a product based on how it deals with negative issues can use red to encourage sales. If you're "fighting" something, your best bet is red:

Via Homedepot.com
It's actually a DVD on how to fistfight ants.

But aspirational messages like "prevention" or protection work best with blue.

Via Crest.com
Crest tried to emphasize their cavity-fighting power by having the site flash red, but that just caused seizures.

In other words, do you want to scare people? Use red packaging. Do you want to make them think they're a better person, maybe even saving the world? Use blue.

We see what you did there, Obama.

Via Politics.gather.com

Monte occasionally writes irreverent comics over at RealToyGun.com, or you can get the update on his women troubles on his blog.

For more things that weirdly influence your brain, check out The 6 Most Surprising Ways Alcohol Is Actually Good for You and 7 Insane Ways Music Affects The Body (According to Science).

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