Processing the word red and intellectual performance: Four replication attempts

Timo Gnambs, Carrie Kovacs, Barbara Stiglbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colors convey meaning and can impair intellectual performance in achievement situations. Even the processing of color words can exert similar detrimental effects. In four experiments, we tried to replicate previous findings regarding the processing of the word 'red' (as compared to a control color) on cognitive test scores. Experiments 1 and 2 (Ns = 69 and 104) are direct replications of Lichtenfeld, Maier, Elliot, and Pekrun (2009). Both experiments failed to uncover a red color effect on verbal reasoning scores among high school students and undergraduates (Cohen’s d = 0.04 and –0.23). Experiments 3 and 4 (N = 103 and 1,149) failed to identify an effect of processing red on general knowledge test scores (Cohen’s d = 0.19) and 0.01) among undergraduates and adults. Together, these results do not corroborate the assumption that processing the word red impairs intellectual performance. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3
JournalCollabra: Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


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