Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York conducted five psychological experiments to demonstrate that the colour red makes men feel more amorous toward women.
In the experiments, groups of young men looked briefly at a picture of a moderately attractive woman printed on a red background, and the same woman then on a white, grey or green background. They also looked at a woman in red clothing, and the same one in blue clothing.
The men found the lady with a red background more attractive, both physically and sexually.
Comparing the woman in a red shirt to the same woman dressed in blue, men said they were more likely to ask the lady in red on a date and to lavish more money on her.
As part of one of the experiments, as well, the researchers sought to see whether a group of women were similarly more attracted to the woman shown against a red backdrop than a background of a different colour. They were not.
What the researchers call the ‘red-sex link’ could have roots in humans’ biological heritage.
For instance, among primates, females display more red on parts of their body when they are nearing ovulation, probably to attract the male of the species.
‘Research has shown that male primates are indeed particularly attracted to female conspecifics [members of the same species] exhibiting red,’ the study says.
To the authors of the study, University of Rochester psychology professor Andrew Elliot and post-graduate researcher Daniela Niesta, the experiments’ findings confirm what ‘women have long suspected and claimed: that men act like animals in the sexual realm’.
And, they added, the fact that men are more turned on by women in red also confirms that, although men like to think that they respond to women ‘in a thoughtful and sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive’.