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Sportsmen who choose to wear the colour are more likely to be winners because they are 'dressing to kill'


In the theatre of sporting combat, many teams are seen in triumph while wearing the colour red.

Now a study has found that sportsmen with higher testosterone levels are more likely to choose that colour than any other.

Daniel Farrelly, who led the study at the University of Sunderland, said choosing red ‘may unconsciously signal something about their competitive nature and it may well be something that affects how their opponents respond’.

The study shows, he added, ‘that there is something special about the colour red in competition, and that it is associated with our underlying biological systems’.

Some might add that the success of teams in red – such as Manchester United in football, Wales and the British Lions in rugby union, and Ferrari in Formula 1 – backs up the theory.

They might also point to Cardiff being promoted to the Premier League this year after changing their strip from blue to red.

And Tiger Woods, for example, famously chooses to wear a red shirt on the last day of major competitions.

But despite the link with testosterone, those who chose red did not actually perform better in the study in which 73 men were told they would be performing a competitive task and their performances would be placed on a leaderboard.

They then chose either a red or blue symbol to represent them in the table and completed the tasks, as well as answering questions aimed at gauging whether various personal reasons may have affected their colour choice.

Their testosterone levels were measured from saliva samples at the start of the study and again at the end.

The data revealed that men who chose red had higher baseline testosterone levels – and they rated the colour as having higher levels of characteristics such as dominance and aggression, than men who chose blue.

But colour choice did not seem to be related to performance in the competitive task.

The researchers believe that direct competition, in which one of several teams is wearing red, may be necessary for the red advantage to occur.

Dr Farrelly added: ‘In some species of monkeys the redness of skin relates to both the individual's testosterone levels and also their dominance.

‘It is possible that a similar innate effect may occur in humans.’

However, cultural associations made with the colour red, as in warning signs and traffic lights, may also have an impact.

Dr Farrelly said: ‘This is the first study to look at whether biological factors, specifically testosterone which has been linked to characteristics such as dominance, aggression and competitiveness, may affect the choices we make in competitive scenarios.

‘Also by allowing participants in a test to choose their colour, this study reveals that there may be something intrinsically different about “red” competitors, that can give them an advantage.’

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2325982/Sportsmen-wear-red-likely-winners-dressing-kill.html

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