A soccer team in England has painted the dressing room for opposing squads pink because it thinks it will help lower the testosterone levels of their rivals and give them an edge.
The sporting director of Norwich City, a club in the second tier of English soccer, told fans that doing so is aimed at lowering the aggression of opponents. The team’s own dressing room, by contrast, is a bright white. The local Eastern Daily Press quoted a psychology lecturer from the University of East Anglia who suggested the color’s effect would be small—yet possibly enough to tip results in marginal games.
It’s not the first sports team to try this, or the first sport. The gridiron opponents of the University of Iowa face not only an all-pink locker room, but also all-pink bathrooms, including the urinals and the ceilings. It was the brainchild of former head coach Hayden Fry, who had a master’s degree in psychology.
“When I talk to an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I’ve got him,” Fry wrote in his autobiography, according to Sports Illustrated. “I can’t recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us.” Colorado State also did something similar.
The research on this comes from Alexander Schauss, who found a particular shade of pink in the late 1970s to “have a maximal effect on reducing hyper-excitability.” He named it after the commanders of the Naval Correctional Center in Seattle that allowed him to test out his theories by painting cells there; the color is now known as Baker-Miller pink.
The color can be found in jail cells in the US and Switzerland (paywall). Kendall Jenner also painted her living room that color because she said it is “scientifically proven to calm you AND suppress your appetite.” (Her claim is based on some John Hopkins research.) You can even buy Baker-Miller Pink Color Therapy glasses on Amazon.
The shade of the dressing room at Norwich looks closer to millennial pink than Baker-Miller pink.
In any case, it hasn’t helped them much so far. They have lost two games and drawn one since the season started earlier this month.