For some, red is passion. For others, red is anger. And for men, red is hot, according to a recent study.’
Two University of Rochester psychologists conducted a study that proves men are more attracted to women who are wearing red. They published the study in the Oct. 28 edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The psychologists performed the study by presenting men with pictures of women on different color backgrounds, using controls of gray or white and variants including green, blue and red, Daniela Niesta a post-doctoral research psychologist at the University of Rochester, said. The study found that there was a dramatic difference between how attracted men were to women wearing red versus any other color.
‘We started really basic, and red would out-perform all the other colors,’ Niesta said. ‘So then we took pictures of women and Photoshopped their shirts different colors and had the participants rate the perceived attractiveness of women in different shirts, and men still found women in red to be more attractive.”
The study focused on the subtle effects of approach and avoidance motivation, and the work could lead to other studies about color Andrew Elliot, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, said.
Why men are more attracted to women wearing red is unknown, but research has shown that human females show different behavior when they come to the mid-point of their menstrual cycle, and could feel more of a desire to dress provocatively, Niesta said.
‘We have two explanations,’ Niesta said. ‘One is that men’s love for red might have to do with the societal learning of red being paired a lot of with love and sex and passion, such as on Valentine’s Day.
‘The other route could be the biological heritage reason. When non-human primates are in heat, they get to display their reproduction parts in a blatant way, and their parts are very red.’
The information from the study explains the influence of color on affect, cognition and behavior, Elliot said.
‘It’s important because it is a non-lexical stimulus that may subtly influence functioning without awareness,’ Elliot said. ‘We haven’t looked at other colors yet, but we will soon, and we have other work showing that red on an IQ test cover undermines performance.’
Glenn Sugar, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences said he does not pay attention to the clothes or the color girls are wearing. He said he is attracted to a woman as long as she isn’t wearing a paper bag.
‘If someone were to ask me ‘What was that girl wearing you were talking to?’ I wouldn’t be able to answer unless she was wearing a crazy outfit,’ Sugar said.
Katelyn Mazuera, a senior in the School of Management said she doesn’t pick what to wear based on what she thinks will attract men, but what makes her feel good about herself.
‘I wear a hell of a lot of red and black. I love it,’ Mazuera said. ‘Those are my favorite colors, and I wear a lot of them.’