Why Politicians Wear Only Red and Blue Ties

Joe Dziemianowicz of the Daily News wrote that even though President Obama doesn't like to reduce America into a collection of red states and blue states, he wore only red and blue neckties in his first 11 days in office. Is that just a coincidence?

Not according to science - Robert Roy Britt of LiveScience explains why in high-stakes politics and business, there are only two color of ties, red and blue:

Red and blue are also thought by psychologists to improve brain performance and receptivity to advertising. The new study in Science supports this idea. It also suggests nuances the president might want to know about, assuming one buys into the notion that presidential messages — delivered on television or on Capitol Hill — are essentially a form of advertising.

The study found that red is the most effective at enhancing our attention to detail, while blue is best at boosting our ability to think creatively.

"Previous research linked blue and red to enhanced cognitive performance, but disagreed on which provides the greatest boost," said study leader Juliet Zhu of the University of British Columbia. "It really depends on the nature of the task."

Zhu and colleagues tracked the performance of more than 600 people on cognitive tasks that required either creativity or attention to detail. Most experiments were conducted on computers with a screen that was red, blue or white.

Red boosted performance on detail-oriented tasks such as memory retrieval and proofreading up to 31 percent more than blue. For brainstorming and other creative tasks, blue cues prompted participants to produce twice as many creative outputs compare to red cues.


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So if a politician wears something other than red or blue, he is trying to downplay something and get it past us. Beware the khaki tie of duplicity!
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