Never underestimate the power of a woman in red. A new study looks at what attracts men to women and proves that red really is the color of love.
Researchers at the University of Rochester conducted five psychological experiments and learned that red actually makes men feel more amorous towards women, but they don’t realize it’s because of the color.
Men who participated in the study looked at photographs of women framed by borders of different colors, including red. They were asked to judge how pretty they perceived the women to be. Later, they viewed images of women wearing red shirts and were asked how much money they’d be willing to spend on each woman if they were on a date with her.
Turns out, the women wearing red or framed in red came out on top. These women were:
— rated significantly more attractive
— rated more sexually desirable
— more likely to be asked to the prom
— more likely to be treated to an expensive date
However, the color red did not affect other factors the men were asked to comment on about the women, like likability, intelligence or kindness.
This study could very well be the only scientific document on the effects of color on behavior in relationships.
“Much is known about color physics and color physiology, but very little about color psychology,” said psychology professor Andrew Elliot, a researcher on the study. “It’s fascinating to find that something as ubiquitous as color can be having an effect on our behavior without our awareness.”
Though society has deemed red the color of passion, the attraction to it might be more scientific. Primates offer a clear example — the females of some species will redden when nearing ovulation — sending the message that it’s mating time.
“Our research demonstrates a parallel in the way that human and nonhuman male primates respond to red,” said the study’s authors. “As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive.”
Yep, just confirming what we already knew.