How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Blue Lights Behind
Have you ever been driving along and suddenly noticed blue flashing lights behind you? Most of us have. The first response is usually to assume that it could well be a police car and so we check our speed. We next will want to get out of the way, to let the vehicle past, as it may also be an ambulance or a fire truck.
In any case, we feel a sudden pang of panic and would far prefer the blue-flashing vehicle to be in front of us.
Now take the case of vehicle decoration. As well as paint jobs, some drivers like to decorate their vehicles with lights, under the body, in the grille, and so on. I experienced this recently when a lorry turned up behind us with a whole bunch of blue LEDs shining through its radiator grille. And guess what? I had a sudden urge to pull over and let it pass.
It seems the blue light effect still works even when the lights are not flashing. Cognitively, I knew it wasn't an emergency vehicle, so I knew there was no problem. I could see the pattern of LEDs and the shape of the truck. But my unconscious system had been triggered and somehow I just seemed to slow down and I then let the truck overtake me. Just in case, of course.
So how can I use this effect, I wondered?
I could try this on my car, but I'm not really the car decoration type. I also suspect I might find everyone in front of me dutifully slowing down. However, don't let this stop you. If your country allows blue lights on cars (and your police use blue lights), you could try it out. Do let me know what happens!
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