Why is the referee’s flag not red, blue, green, or orange? Why, oh why is it bright yellow? Surprisingly, there are a lot of reasons.
During your drive from work, do you ever crest a hill and see a tiny glint of yellow a few hundred yards away? If your first thought was a schoolbus you are probably correct. “As a highly visible colour from any distance, Yellow says, ‘pay attention, caution, look at me and remember’ all at the same time. The intensity of the message is determined by the intensity of Yellow used. For example, caution signs, taxi cabs, emergency service vehicles and heavy construction equipment are usually painted in a strong yellow colour because they need to be seen” (www.tunedin.com). The color yellow gets our attention so much better than other colors that it was mandated color for school buses starting in 1939.
Yellow is even used by fast-food chains because the color “increases appetite and respiration rate.” Also, “scientific studies have proven that babies cry more and people are more inclined to get angry in a room that is painted bright Yellow” (www.tunedin.com). Out of all the colors, Yellow is considered the most emotional shade.
“The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our “yellow streak” can surface” (www.colour-affect.co).
Ever wonder why the Yellow Pages are yellow? Well – “it has been scientifically proven that when we record and read something back from a pastel shade of Yellow paper” we actually retain the information better (www.tunedin.com)! This is why post-it notes and legal pads are all yellow!
So penalty flags are yellow because as soon as they are thrown into the air, everyone thinks: CAUTION! However, if the flags were red everyone would get aggressive. Blue flags would make everyone calm and serene. Green flags would do nothing since the color green indicates the presence of water, which puts our hunter-gatherer brains at ease. Purple would make everyone start meditating. Pink would make everyone think of their mothers, and grey would make everyone depressed (www.colour-affect.co).
Finally, since we are talking about school buses, I highly recommend parents read The Magic School Bus or watch the show with young kids. I probably read every Magic School Bus book at least five times apiece. That series taught me about friction, space, water treatment, and what to do if I ever get trapped in the desert. All before I went to middle school.
Featured Image Credit – www.nwamotherlode.com