Archive for November 5th, 2008|Daily archive page

Women wearing red are seen as more attractive

New research has found yet another way that our thinking is often much less rational and far more influenced by external factors than we’d like to admit.  These findings, produced by a team led by psychology professor Andrew Elliot of the University of Rochester in New York, indicate that men find women who wear the color red to be more physically attractive than those who wear other colors.

Ladies, wear this color if you want to be seen as more physically attractive to men

Ladies, wear this color if you want to be seen as more physically attractive to men

They did several sets of experiments.  In one, researchers used a computer to modify the color of clothing worn by women in various pictures.  Men who saw a picture of a given woman wearing red rated her, on average, as being more attractive than did men who saw the same woman in the same photo but with her shirt changed to a different color.  In the other set of experiments, men were shown pictures of women that were unmodified but that were framed with a colored border.  Women were rated as more physically attractive and sexually desirable when their pictures were framed with red than when they were framed with another color.

Homosexual men and color blind men were excluded from the study, which utilized about 100 men, mostly college undergraduates.  They did not rate women wearing red any differently in terms of intelligence, likability, or kindness—only attractiveness.  Researchers conclude “The women shown framed by or wearing red were rated significantly more attractive and sexually desirable by men than the exact same women shown with other colours.” The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The lead researcher notes that:

throughout history many cultures have linked sex with the colour red, ranging from ancient peoples who used ochre body paints on fertile females to modern-day “red-light” districts.

But Dr. Elliot speculated that men’s response to red may also have deep biological roots that go beyond a learned cultural response. The sexual parts of female baboons and chimpanzees take on a conspicuously red hue when they are reaching ovulation. In similar fashion, many human females will become flush-faced when they are interested in a male, Dr. Elliot said.

“It may well be that males have this deep-seated sense of red indicating sexual availability,” he speculated. “I think females can use that to their advantage—and to wear it or not, depending on their desires.”

So, ladies, this should make it easier for you to decide what to wear on your next first date.  If you like the guy, wear red; if you want to lose him, wear another color.  Or maybe just wear red anyway, because in other research conducted by those same scientists, men said they were willing to spend more money on a date if she were wearing red than if she were wearing another color.

Some trivia on presidents and President-Elect Obama

Well, Senator Barack Obama is now President-Elect Barack Obama, albeit unofficially until the electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on January 6th.  Obama will be the second U.S. President from Illinois; the first, of course, being Abraham Lincoln.  But here is some useless presidential trivia that you may not know.

He is also the first president to be elected from outside the Sun Belt since John Kennedy in 1960.  (Note that Michigander Gerald Ford was appointed, not elected.)   When he assumes office at noon on 20 January 2009 he will be 47 years, 5 months, and 16 days old; that will make him the fifth youngest person to become president, after Theodore Roosevelt (42 years, 10 months, 18 days); John F. Kennedy (43 years, 7 months, 22 days); Bill Clinton (46 years, 5 months, 1 day); and Ulysses S. Grant (46 years, 10 months, 5 days).  He is the fourth youngest person elected to the presidency, since Teddy Roosevelt, as Vice President, took office upon the death of President William McKinley.

Perhaps surprisingly, Obama is just the third sitting U.S. Senator to be elected president.  The other two were Warren Harding and John Kennedy.  Thirteen other presidents had previously served as a U.S. Senator, but not immediately preceeding their becoming president.

Obama is the first Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote in 32 years; the last one to do so was Jimmy Carter, who won 50.08% of the popular vote in 1976.  (Due in part to the participation of Ross Perot, Clinton received only 43% and 49.24% of the popular vote in his two winning campaigns.  Though Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, he also didn’t get an absolute majority, securing only 48.4% of the vote, due to Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan being in the race.)

Had John McCain won, he would have been the second U.S. President to have spent time as a prisoner of war; the first was Andrew Jackson.  McCain, who is from the Sun Belt state of Arizona, would have been the oldest president to assume office, beating out Ronald Reagan by over two years.