Amid all the allegations of scoring bias that seem to come out of these (and every other) Olympic Games, there may be an even simpler controversy involving the colors on an athlete's uniform. A study from a German university is indicating that teams and athletes that wear red are actually the benefactors of scoring bias from referees.
The study, published in the August issue of Psychological Science, was conducted by the researchers presenting 42 taekwondo referees with videos of blue- and red-clad competitors sparring. The two sets of clips were identical except that the colors were reversed in the second set so the red athlete appeared to be wearing blue and vice versa. After each video the referees were asked to score the performance of each competitor, red or blue. The psychologists said competitors wearing red were awarded an average of 13 percent more points and the points seemed to increase after the blue athlete was digitally transformed into a red athlete and decrease when the red competitor turned blue.
The researchers, psychologists Norbert Hagemann, Bernd Strauss and Jan Leissing from Germany's University of Muenster, were sure to note that "there is a need for further research," which is their little way of saying that their whole study could be total bullshit.