Do you remember receiving tests or papers back from your teachers? Anticipating your grade and sifting through the comments scrawled in the margins could be stressful. Recent studies suggest that there may have been something else adding to our anxiety during these moments – the colour of the ink used by the teacher.
It appears that red ink has a way of stirring up a wealth of emotions. Research conducted by sociologists at the University of Colorado concluded that using a red pen can heighten negativity and have an adverse effect on a teacher-student relationship. The study indicated that the colour red is associated with warning, anger, caution and embarrassment. In response to these findings, some schools in the USA and Great Britain are banning the use of red ink for marking and grading. The recommendation is to use a more neutral colour. Green, a positive colour, is a good alternative.
Experts are not all in agreement with the study's finding and feel further research is required. However, as researcher Dr. John Grohol, Psy.D. of PsychCentral said, “When in doubt, it’s probably best to leave your creative red side be and grade papers in a neutral color. That seems to be the safest choice, if one doesn’t want to accidentally say more than they had intended.”