It turns out that "going back to nature" might have more of a benefit to creativity than just the peace and quiet and singing animals. We've already looked into the bizarre ways that colors control your mind, specifically the colors red and blue, which affect everything from how well you do on a test to how fast you heal. Well, as it turns out, there are other colors on the spectrum that do freaky things to your brain: Being exposed to green can apparently make you more creative.
Researchers gave subjects a number of creative tests after exposing them to the color green for as little as two seconds, while another group was exposed to colors such as white, gray, red, and blue. In one experiment, participants were asked to come up with as many esoteric uses they could for a tin can within two minutes; another experiment asked participants to develop as many different shapes as they could from a given geometric shape. Although the participants weren't made aware of the intentions of the researchers, in all cases, those who had been exposed to the color green prior to the study came up tops.
It's no coincidence that St. Patrick's Day always produces that unique kind of drunkenness.
Scientists have uncreatively decided to call this "the green effect" (maybe if they planted a few more trees around the place they would have been able to come up with something better), and it appears to be due to the fact that green is the color of nature and our brains have evolved to loosen up at the calming sight of trees and grass. Unless the green comes in the form of dollar bills, as we mentioned before. Hey, mind control is a complicated business.
Using the Right-Handed Keys on Your Keyboard Makes You Happier
And now we arrive at one so bizarre that science doesn't even have a logical guess as to why it occurs. In multiple experiments, people report feeling happier when thinking about words that are typed on the right side of the keyboard. And no, it has nothing to do with the subjects being right-handed -- it works either way.
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Maybe this is why people are so miserable to stewardesses.
In the experiment, researchers had subjects look at a list of words and asked them to rate how positively or negatively they felt about them. Just to be thorough, the researchers created similar lists in Spanish and Dutch. Across all three languages, the test subjects rated words you'd type on the right-hand side of the keyboard more positively than those you'd type on the left-hand side. The effect was so pronounced that with each extra letter that appeared on the right-hand side of the QWERTY keyboard, feelings of positivity increased by 4 percent. This is despite the fact that you can type delightfully whimsical phrases such as "fart cart" without using your right hand at all.
What the shit is going on here? Well, the researchers don't really know. As we mentioned, the obvious answer would have been that most people are right-handed and thus prefer the words that are easier to type with their dominant hand. But no, they got the same results with left-handed subjects. Another theory was that the inventor of the QWERTY keyboard spoke English and subconsciously put all of the positive letters to the right, but the same effect was seen with Spanish and Dutch words.
Way to fuck up a good thing, other languages.
And it gets even more bizarre than that. The QWERTY effect, as the researchers are choosing to call it, was tested to its extreme when the researchers made up over 1,600 meaningless words and then asked 800 test subjects to rate them. Even then, words on the right-hand side were rated more positively than those on the left, even though the test subjects had never seen those words or typed them in their entire lives.
So we suppose we should probably pick a new name for this site that requires more than just one right-hand letter. From now on you will find us at Sexwarts.com.
Or Shithead.mil for our Dvorak users.
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Related Reading: Speaking of manipulating moods, check out Felix Clay's guide ruining the mood in any sexual encounter. Or click here and learn how your taste in music is scientifically programmed. Your brain is even hardwired to recognize happy and sad notes! There's also a ton of mental programming behind how your food tastes.