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.

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