Monday, 2 May 2011

Code red

Do your learners take tests?

If so, what colour will they see in the room where they take the tests?

And how high will the ceiling be?

Perhaps, like me, you've never thought about it.

However, it turns out these apparently incidental details can have an effect.

Research by the University of British Columbia's School of Business has shown that learners exposed to the colour red  are more likely to recall detail correctly.

Simply by colouring the screen of the computer red, learners were able to boost their memory retention and proofreading abilities by up to 31% compared with those who had blue or white screens.

Blue screens, however, prompted more creative ideas and may be useful for brainstorming.

Similarly, the University of Minnesota's School of Management has discovered that ceiling height affects thinking.

High ceilings lend themselves to creative output and making conceptual connections, while low ceilings aid focus and accuracy.

Perhaps, then, the ideal environment for an English language test taker would be a claustrophobic red room.

Unless, of course, the learner has read Jane Eyre.

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