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Title: The influence of red stimuli on cognitive performance in achievement contexts
Author: Pedley, Adam J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 7669
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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The influence of colour on cognition has a long and varied history in experimental psychology. Research areas include the influence of colour on; mate selection; food evaluation; mood; sporting prowess; and cognitive performance. However, few reliable colour based effects have emerged. This thesis examines a recently proposed effect in the domain of colour and cognitive performance; the "Red Achievement-Context Cognitive Effect" (RACE). This effect, proposed by Elliot et al., (2007), proposes that in an achievement context (i.e. one with a pass or fail outcome) red stimuli evoke avoidance motivation that, mediated through local processing, impedes cognitive ability. Although the RACE is recognised in the research literature and is underpinned by established theory, few direct replications of the RACE have been published and, applying criteria proposed by Pashler and Harris (2012), the literature that describes the RACE is susceptible to being skewed by publication bias. Additionally, there is a debate regarding whether the RACE emerges in both genders. This thesis contributes to the literature by addressing four aims; assessing the RACE in an applied context (aim 1); investigating the gender discrepancy within the literature (aim 2); providing independent, direct replications of the RACE in addition to conceptual replications (aim 3); and conducting a meta-analysis of published and grey literature (aim 4). A wide range of research methods were implemented including primary research using experimental methods in applied, online and laboratory settings and secondary research methods including meta-analysis and observational analysis of existing data sets. This thesis concludes that the RACE is a fragile effect that only emerges in very specific experimental settings and, even when the RACE does emerge, direct replications using identical methods do not always reproduce the effect. Whilst the RACE may manifest in controlled laboratory settings, it is unlikely to have any influence in applied settings.
Supervisor: Sowden, P. T. ; Grandison, A. Sponsor: School of Psychology, University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available