Do Not Paint Your Walls Pink

By Anupum Pant

Like I’ve told you once, there is no pink. Still, we do see the colour pink and there’s no denying that. Don’t call me a sexist for saying this, but it’s true that the colour pink is associated with femininity. Otherwise the colour is also known to generate feelings of caring, tenderness, and love. If everything we know about pink is somewhat positive, then why isn’t it a good idea to paint your walls pink?

Let me start with a little story.

Hayden Fry and the Pink room

Hayden Fry was an American football player and later he went on to become a coach. In the late 70s he started coaching the University of Iowa football team. Now, the particular thing to note about Fry was that in the year 1951 he had graduated from Baylor with a degree in psychology.

Since he had graduated in psychology, Fry probably knew some good ways that he could use to mess with the opposing team’s brain. And then he decided to paint the walls of the visitor’s locker room at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, with the colour pink. The walls, floors, toilets, ceiling and everything else in the locker room was painted pink. As a result, the home team started doing significantly well at football games (later the practice of painting locker rooms pink was outlawed).

Some say, he used pink to paint the visitor’s locker room because he knew that the colour pink had a calming effect on people. But I think he was relying on something deeper. He was probably trying to cash on the results of a study that was done by Prof. Alexander Schauss in the year 1979.

The Effect of Pink Colour

Prof. Alexander Schauss started a study with a couple of volunteers. He divided the group into two equal halves. All of their strengths were measured by asking them to use their arms against a counter-force and by asking them to squeeze a device called a dynamometer.

After this, for a minute, the first half had to stare at a dark blue colour and the other half stared at pink. Their strengths were recorded again.

A remarkable decrease in physical strength was recorded among the people who were given the colour pink to stare at. The participants were not aware of the effect it had on them.

Probably it were those pink walls and pink floors at the visitor’s locker that made the opposing team physically weaker and helped Iowa win.


Colours certainly are one of those subtle forces which change the way we think, feel, and behave. Pink has been proven to make you weaker physically. So, unless you wish to be weaker, you wouldn’t want to paint your walls pink! How about blue? It is a simple choice.

Now I think even writing an article about pink and having your brain think about the colour makes you weaker. Seriously, I feel like I need rest after writing this. Phew!

Hit like if you learnt something.

Cambridge University Says Spelling Does Not Matter?

By Anupum Pant


Oh tell me you have never received this old chain mail that had the following paragraph attached in it, and warned you that if you did not forward it to 20 friends, something bad would happen. The passage  –

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

The paragraph contains a bunch of letters that are jumbled and you are still able to read it at a normal pace. The passage speaks for itself and says that according to a research study done at Cambridge university, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are; only the first and last letters need to be in the right place. According to it, everything in the middle can be messed up and you can still easily read it even when it clearly shouldn’t be making any sense.

Questions, Questions!

Certainly blows your mind. But if you start questioning the legitimacy of what the passage claims, you start finding a couple of unanswered questions…

1. It says, “a researcher at Cambridge”. I’d like to throw an open challenge to you – Find me the publication where “the researcher from Cambridge University” published this paragraph (or something similar).

Cambridge does have a Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit where researchers try to figure how brain processes language. But it is clear from this blog-post that people at Cambridge didn’t even know about the  meme that had been circulating all over the internet. At the time when this meme started circulating, in Cambridge, no one was doing research in this area. The prof says:

To my knowledge, there’s no-one in Cambridge UK who is currently doing research on this topic. There may be people in Cambridge, MA, USA who are responsible for this research, but I don’t know of them.

However, in 1999, the effect was originally demonstrated in a letter – [here]

Let’s give it up for the internet trolls, the phenomenon is indeed, intriguing. The researcher tries to figure out the science behind it in the same blog-post. He finds that the effect is same with many other languages. However, it doesn’t seem to work with languages like Finnish and Hebrew.

2. Try reading this:

Bblaaesl pryleas pnmrrioefg srillaimy aeoulltsby dvrseee clbrpmaaoe tteenmrat.

If you need hints, it follows the same rule. The sentence has all the words with first and last letters in place. The letters in the middle are jumbled. According to “the researcher from Cambridge” you should be able to read it easily. Why can’t you? It follows the exactly same rules. Have I made my point?

Why does it work?

Believe it or not, the paragraph actually works. I could read it without any hiccups. At the same time, the one above, which follows the same rules is pretty difficult to read. So what makes the chain mail paragraph so readable? In simple words…

1. There are 69 words in the paragraph. Out of those 69 words, only 37 are jumbled. All the other 32 words are two or three lettered words, which can’t follow the rule. That clears up the structure of sentences.

2. Out of the 37 jumbled words. 12, if I counted correctly, are four letter words that can only have the middle letters swapped. Those are breeze to figure out. That leaves us with just 25 jumbled letters. Given your life-long experience with reading, you can easily predict those if you know most of the other words.

3. Most of these 5 or more lettered words (in 25) are at such places that they don’t even require reading. For instance, your brain can easily figure that “because” will come after “this is”. So it knows, “bcuseae” is actually “because”.  Also, all of these 25 “big” words are easy and familiar ones.

4. The words have not been jumbled a lot.  There are mostly letter swaps, like – porbelm. “Porbelm” has just 2 pair of letters swapped. All those words that have this are pretty easy to figure too. What if it was “pbelorm”? It gets tougher when the central letter is moved from its place. Isn’t it?

But the mission of the makers of the meme passage was to blow your minds in a way that you’d be forced to forward it to your friends. So, they put in easy jumbles.

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