Red Objects Strangely Feel Cooler to the Touch than Blue Ones

Posted on July 4, 2014

It’s as basic as water faucet handles: red means hot and blue means cold. That simple fact just got more complicated, according to a surprising study in the July 3 issue of Scientific Reports which shows that blue objects feel warmer to the touch than red ones of the same temperature.

Participants in the study were led into a pitch-dark room with a temperature-controlled plate lit up in either blue or red. Placing their hands on the surface, they were asked to state whether it felt warm. Red-colored surfaces needed to be about 0.5 degrees C hotter than blue ones before they felt at all warm to the touch.

"I was very surprised," says Hsin-Ni Ho, a communications researcher at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation in Japan and the study's lead author. "I think as most people, our expectation is that red objects should feel warm and blue objects should feel cold. We get a totally reversed result. At first I was like, 'Oh, is something wrong?'"

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Source material from Scientific American

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