The Loh Down On Science

Loud Colors

Researchers discover that the color of a product affects how it sounds.

Red or green, which is louder--?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science

and with the latest noise from the auto world.

Does your car roar like a lion, or purr like a kitten? Engineers test those sounds--usually with volunteers isolated from other sensory input.

But German researchers wondered if what we SEE plays a role in what we hear.

Sixteen test subjects were shown pictures of four different-colored sports cars--red, blue, dark green, and light green--while listening to recordings of sports cars revvin' at various decibel levels.

They then rated the loudness of each car. Results? Most thought the engine was loudest when looking at the RED car--no matter what the real decibel level was.

The same engine sound was rated about five percent louder with the red car than with the light green car.

It shows that our perception of sound is directly influenced by what we're seeing. We believe a red car SOUNDS louder and more powerful.

And we believe its 55 year-old driver's toupee looks. . .totally realistic! And everybody wins.


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