Why the McDonald’s Logo Uses the Colors Yellow and Red

If you thought the McDonald’s logo was an abstract rendering of two massive, bendy French fries dipped into a pool of sweet, tangy ketchup, it's not a bad guess—but the logo colors actually have specific psychological reasons behind them, according to Reader’s Digest.

The website explains that the color red is stimulating and associated with activity. Indeed, some studies show that seeing the color red encourages us to take action more quickly and more forcefully than other colors do. In one study, Science Daily reports, students were instructed to read aloud their participant number, which was written in either red or gray crayon, and then pinch and hold open a metal clasp. A second group of participants had to squeeze a handgrip as hard as possible when the word squeeze appeared on the screen against a red, blue, or gray background. In both experiments, participants pinched or squeezed with more force when the color red was involved, and students in the handgrip experiment even had faster reaction times when squeeze was on a red background. In other words, you might be more inclined to veer off onto an unexpected exit for an impulse Big Mac when you see the red McDonald’s logo on the highway.

We associate yellow, on the other hand, with happiness, according to Reader's Digest. It’s also reportedly the most visible color in daylight, which helps it show up against other less psychologically optimized fast food road signs. Since your brain processes color before words or shapes, it’s already sending you signals to indulge in greasy goodness upon seeing the McDonald’s logo before you can even register any other information.

McDonald’s has been willing to compromise on its classic color scheme in the past. In 2009, the burger chain made a major push in Europe to replace its red background with a green one, hoping people would perceive it as a more environmentally friendly corporation. That particular public relations venture never made it to this side of the pond, however.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]

The Reason Why Baking Makes You Feel Good, According to Psychologists

Liderina/iStock via Getty Images
Liderina/iStock via Getty Images

Whether you're nibbling a slice of zucchini bread or an extra-chewy chocolate chip cookie, it’s always fun to be the taste tester for a friend or relative who loves to bake. And, while eating products created with love (and sugar) probably makes you feel good, the baker is reaping some psychological benefits, too.

Studies have shown that creative activities like baking and knitting contribute to an overall sense of well-being. Boston University associate professor of psychological and brain sciences Donna Pincus told HuffPost that there’s “a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”

Baking is also a great way to practice mindfulness, because it requires you to focus on following very straightforward directions in a specific order. In other words, most of the decisions have already been made for you, allowing you to concentrate on the details while nudging your mind away from the stressors and anxieties of your life outside the kitchen. Julie Ohana, a licensed clinical social worker and culinary art therapist, explained to HuffPost that baking is therapeutic because it helps you practice the “balance of the moment and the bigger picture.” While you’re measuring and mixing ingredients, you’re probably visualizing how they’ll all come together to create a fulfilling final product, and deciding how and when you’ll share it with others.

Sharing your desserts—altruistically rather than for attention or competition—is another mood-booster, making you “feel like you’ve done something good for the world, which perhaps increases your meaning in life and connection with other people,” Pincus said. It can also function as a mode of communication. Susan Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, told HuffPost that “it can be helpful for people who have difficulty expressing their feelings in words to show thanks, appreciation, or sympathy with baked goods.”

If baking just isn’t for you, that’s OK, too—try one of these other stress-reducing tactics instead.

[h/t HuffPost]

The Reason Why Objects in a Car’s Side-View Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

aydinozcanbaz/iStock via Getty Images
aydinozcanbaz/iStock via Getty Images

“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” It's a warning you see in basically every car, but why can't passenger-side mirrors display objects accurately? Well, it's actually a careful design choice made with safety in mind.

The way we see things is dependent on how light reflects off objects around us. An object's color, texture, shape, and other characteristics influence the direction and intensity of light that bounces off them. If the objects are reflected off an intermediate object, like a mirror, our perception of the original object may be distorted.

The shape of the mirror also makes a difference in our perception. In the U.S., passenger-side mirrors are convex (curved slightly outward), whereas driver-side mirrors are flat. A convex mirror placed on the passenger side reduces the driver's blind spots on that side of the vehicle by presenting a wider field of view, but it also makes other cars appear farther away due to a slight distortion caused by the shape. The flatter mirror on the driver’s side produces a more accurate depiction of what’s behind the car with a more narrow field of view, since light bounces off in the same direction that it hits the mirror and doesn't distort the reflection of the object.

When the two mirrors' reflections are combined in the driver's point of view, drivers have the ability to both see wider areas on the passenger side while keeping their eyes (mainly) on the road. The flat-convex combo has been the U.S. standard for years, though the U.S. Department of Transportation is looking into the safety benefits of two convex mirrors, which European cars usually sport.

For now, always remember to check your mirrors frequently, and look over your shoulder before you change lanes. (Don't forget your turn signal!)

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