In 1979, Professor Alexander Schauss published findings that proved a simple subconscious stimulus could completely alter how we feel and react. He found that looking at a certain shade of pink could soothe our mood, moving even violent prisoners to calm down.
Adam Alter's book Drunk Tank Pink: The Subconscious Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, And Behave, lists similar cues that subconsciously influence us, such as:
- Weather can affect our mental ability. Bad weather dampens our mood so we are actively alert to our surroundings, looking for chances to improve happiness levels. We think more deeply and more clearly. On sunny days our mood is better so we don’t need to search for happiness stimuli, falling into a sort of ‘mental stupor’
- Women receive far more attention from potential dates when wearing red in their online dating profile picture
- Some letters in product names make us more likely to buy them (for example, nearly all successful brands contain a 'k' sound)
- The more people we are surrounded by, the less likely we are to help someone in need, even if they are dying
Drunk Tank Pink (Oneworld, £8.99) is out now in paperback
Read more from Gloria Moss on Unconscious bias on LifeLabs