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Uniform colors, & more

Interesting findings from a group of psychologists at Johns Hopkins:

When soccer fans gather Sunday to watch France and Italy do battle in Berlin during the World Cup finals, new research suggests the enraptured audience will be better able to follow every artful pass and blistering shot on goal because of the brilliant, crisp colors each team will wear.

Fact is, without the help of color, the human brain can't pay attention to more than three moving objects at once, concluded a team of neurological researchers reporting in the July issue of Psychological Science.

Grouping even a vast number of objects or people together by color makes all the difference, the researchers said.

"That's a new finding -- that humans can attend to more than three items if those items form a single set," said study co-researcher Justin Halberda, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University. "The set itself can then function as an individual," he added.

Further, and more fundamentally, Halberda speculates that (commercially successful) team sports pair two opponents competing at once, rather than say four, because fans' ability to observe and comprehend such a competition is greater. Interesting.

This suggests to me that paintball on ESPN will never catch on -- with hiding and stealth inherent in the sport's design, it's too confusing to follow! Thanks to Bobby McCormick for the link.