It is no secret that the color red is associated with love and sexiness. Women have been painting many hues of red on their faces for the past 12,000 years and the color red is colored over every Valentine’s Day decoration. A new study published in this month’s Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has found that men are more likely to consider a woman “open to sex” if she is wearing red.
The author of the study Adam Pazda, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, suggest the the alluring effect of red stems from a biological point, citing that when ‘primate females — from chimpanzees to types of baboons called mandrills — become fertile, their estrogen levels peak, opening up their blood vessels and turning their faces bright red. This flushed complexion seems to give males the signal that it’s time to make their move.’ Pazda and his colleagues conducted a simple study to prove that seeing red and associating it with sex is a biological response, rather than a social one. The researchers showed 25 men a photo of a single woman wearing either a red or white T-shirt. The researchers then asked the volunteers to gauge, on a scale from 1 to 9, how interested the model appeared to be in sex. The researchers concluded, “Men perceive women in red as sexually receptive” and “perceive sexually receptive women as attractive.”
Pazda added that a woman must simply wear red to evoke this attraction: “It doesn’t have to be a red dress or a sexy outfit…It can be a red T-shirt.” The study suggests that the color red prompts a biological response in men, suggesting that the effect could be evolutionary. It may also be a social, learned behavior that has been passed down from generation to generation but researchers would not be able to confirm this unless they traveled to “isolated corners of the world to examine just how universal red’s status as the color of love is.”
Personally, I think the study needs to delve a little deeper to actually conclude what they are trying to prove, that red produces a biological response. But I think it is interesting to consider the simple color red eliciting a biological response that has been around for millions of years.
Does seeing the color red make you think of love? What do you think of this study?