How am I? First tell me the color of the walls. – SCN Encourager 10/23/2013

Other factors beside high stakes testing affect creativity.

Not that I’m an expert (or even a guru) about this topic.

The first time I wrote about creativity at all was in yesterday’s Encourager.

So when I received comments back like “Did you know that color also affects creativity?” and “How come you didn’t connect creativity to the music of Chopin?” — the best I could come up with in response was to remain my usual ignorant self.

I had no idea that these were even reasonable follow-up questions.

Remember, the first time I wrote about creativity at all was in yesterday’s Encourager.

But then I thought… what the heck?

I should be grateful for these questions.

After all, every Encourager is not much more than my attempt to “explore and share.”

It’s really about all I can manage… “explore and share.”

On the job, I might say “let me check it out and get back to you.”

Same thing.

It was “show and tell” for me back in kindergarten, and now about a half century later, it’s “explore and share.”

I think I missed “divide and conquer” and “show me the money” somewhere, though.

Believe me, if I could write Encouragers that presented “here’s what I know, let me brag about it a bit,” I would.

So I’m grateful for every question.

I have to be.

They mesh well with the goofy ones I think up… and they ultimately provide a good balance to my ” exploring and sharing.”

For example, I never realized that the connection between various colors in our environment and the level of our creativity is as significant as it is.

Adam Alter 2013-10-22 at 6.45.10 PMWithin hours of receiving this question, I heard a podcast with Adam Alter, the author of Drunk Tank Pink.

No lie. (Most of my “explore and share” opportunities don’t pop up this easily.)

Anyway, Alter offers about a hundred factors in his book that influence why we do what we do (besides the lure of getting paid).

He points out that “pepto bismol pink” wall paint brought about calmer demeanors in military drunk tanks, and due to this great success, was also used in many schools.

Once Alter tossed out a direct reference to schools, I turned off SportsCenter on ESPN entirely.

I knew something interesting might be coming up.

Alter then spoke about the strategic uses of “red” and “blue.”

Yes, he agreed, everyone knows that red is the color to draw interest and attention. Stop signs are red.

But red is the color that also draws heightened scrutiny and criticism — as studies have shown that manuscripts and drafts turned in within a red folder or with a red cover cause readers to notice more typos, errors, and disagreeable statements than they normally would with other colors.

Considering that my school district’s colors are red and white, this is not what I wanted to hear— that the color red alone increases the chances of everyone in town extra hyped-up to find my typos, errors, and disagreeable statements.

Maybe I should just turn back on SportsCenter.

According to Alter, blue folders and covers are the ones to use if you are hoping to affect creativity and higher level thinking. Avoid red.

The podcast interviewer must’ve been reading my mind because he re-directed Alter back to the color red.

“What are two unique positive uses for the color red?” he asked.

“Well,” Alter said. “People on dating websites who are wearing a red top or sweater in their photos, get selected more often by about 30%. And also, in Europe, hitchhikers who wear red increase their chances of getting picked up considerably.”

Whoa! I couldn’t believe I just heard this.

Thanks to my red and white school district causing me to have more than a few red shirts and vests in my closet — if ever Cindy tosses me out of the house and I’m forced to carry my shame all the way to Europe, I’m well-prepared!

For once.

Tom Page, SCN
carWed 102313




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