In colour psychology, experts often speak of the emotional effects that colours have on those who perceive them. What if colours have the power to not only influence our mental state of mind, but our physical performance as well? Such is the case for the colour known as Baker-Miller Pink.

In the late 1970s, this mysterious shade of pink was researched by Dr. Alexander Schauss and coined as a “humane, non-drug anesthetic”. In an experiment with 153 recipients, subjects were asked to stretch their arms out at a 90-degree angle and were asked to try and resist the efforts of the experimenter to push their arms down to the hips. Then, subjects were asked to do the same test but this time with a bright pink piece of paper positioned in front of their eyes. The results were staggering, Dr. Schauss noted that upon being exposed to Baker-Miller pink, 151 out of 153 recipients experienced a significant loss of muscular strength.


By then, correctional facilities across America have taken Dr. Schauss’s experiment to a whole new level by painting their holding cells completely in pink. (Fun fact, Baker-Miller refers to the surnames of the two corrections officers that tested the first pink holding cell.) Miraculously, duty intake officers noted zero incidents in violent erratic behaviour ever since their inmates were exposed to the colour pink, where it was previously deemed “a whale of a problem”. In fact, inmates were so aware of the colour’s psychological effect that they have taken to chipping the paint off the cell walls in an attempt to regain control.

To this day, Baker-Miller Pink is still known to most as the calming colour, with numerous attempts to recreate the remarkable results in Dr. Schauss’ paper to no avail. In fact, in a newer paper published by Dr. James E. Gilliam and Dr. David Unruh, professionals were warned to “exercise caution” in using Baker-Miller Pink as the source to reduce aggressive behaviour, stating that there were no significant differences in strength scores in their own experiment with the same colour.

Whether the power of this colour is fact or fiction, it’s safe to say that the experiment has opened up new discussions on the prospects of using colour to influence human behaviour.