Personality Trait Correlates and Influence of Color on Bias in Tae Kwon Do Judging
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While subtle, color is a dominant aspect and influence in day-to-day life. Colors can carry meanings within certain contexts (e.g., red traffic light being associated with anger) and can shape how people perceive others. The associations color has with emotion and perception of others have been the subject of research in a variety of areas, including combat sports. Four Olympic combat sport events, including Tae Kwon Do, require participants to wear either red or blue gear, as a method for distinguishing athletes for referees and judges. Previous research in this area has found that there is a preference for red-wearing athletes, with red-wearing athletes being awarded more points, winning matches more frequently, and being perceived as more aggressive and more likely to win. However, while previous research has demonstrated the existence of this red preference within combat sports, no study has assessed the relation of person-based factors to the bias. The current study explored this area of research; participants were assessed for color-emotion associations by watching clips of Tae Kwon Do matches, and they completed the Big Five Inventory. With personality traits being among the most notable form of individual differences, the Big Five traits serve as a good foundation for this expansion of research, due to their relation to cognitive biases. Paired-samples t-tests and mixed model regressions were used to measure color-emotion associations and the relation of person-based factors to said associations, respectively. The study found that there were no differences in ratings of red-wearing versus blue-wearing fighters for aggression, strategic ability, or likelihood of winning among a sample of college students. Additionally, the Big Five personality traits were not found to be predictive of the difference in ratings of the red-wearing and blue-wearing fighters. Limitations associated with the current study are discussed, as well as future directions for related research to pursue.