Girls look hot wearing red! Psychological research from the University of Rochester has demonstrated that men find women more attractive in red. Interestingly, men are unaware of the subliminal role the colour plays in their attraction.
From the red-light districts to the red hearts on Valentine's Day, the rosy hue has been tied to passion and romantic love across cultures and time. But the Rochester study was one of the first to scientifically document the effects of colour on behaviour in the context of beauty and relationships.
In the research study, men were shown pictures of women wearing or framed by different colours. Men rated women in red significantly more attractive and sexually desirable than the exact same women shown with other colours. One question asked: "Imagine that you are going on a date with this person and have $100 in your wallet. How much money would you be willing to spend on your date?" . When wearing red, the woman was also more likely to score an invitation to the prom and to be treated to a more expensive outing.
Just beautiful on the outside!
The red effect extends to perceptions of attractiveness. Red did not change how men rated the women in the photographs in terms of likability, intelligence or kindness. Also, red did not increase attractiveness ratings for females rating other females.
More recently Schwarza and Singerb (2013) went further by conducting a study using a sample of young males average age of 25 and older males average age 53 and how they perceived young females average age of 24 years and older females average age of 53 years on a white or red background.The results showed that only the young female was perceived as more sexually attractive against the red compared to the white background. Background colour had no effect on the sexual attractiveness of the older target. The young and old men didn’t differ in sexual attractiveness ratings. Again they found men were unaware of this psychological “red effect”. The researchers concluded that red enhances men's attraction to young, but not menopausal women.
But why Red?
Although this aphrodisiacal effect of red may be a product of classical conditioning alone (pairing red with valentine’s day and sexy stuff); researchers argue that men's response to red more likely stems from deeper biological roots. Evidence shows that nonhuman male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red. Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.
It is argued that there are parallels in the way human and nonhuman male primates respond to red. As such, we can confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed –men act like animals in the sexual world. Men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner. However, it appears that to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, bluntly put, primitive.
The current findings have clear implications for the dating game, the fashion industry, product design and marketing.