Men looking to attract the opposite
sex may want to add red to their wardrobe, according to a new study.
Researchers found that women are
more drawn to males wearing the colour.
“We found that women view men in red
as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the
social ladder,” lead author Andrew Elliot, a professor of psychology at the
University of Rochester, said in a university news release. “And it’s this
high-status judgment that leads to the attraction.”
He and his colleagues asked 288
female and 25 males undergraduates to look at photos of a man in which his
shirt was digitally coloured either red or another colour. Women said the red
shirt made the man appear more powerful, attractive and sexually desirable.
However, it didn’t make him seem more likeable, kind or sociable.
The women had the same responses
when looking at a man’s photo that was framed by a border of either red or
The study included undergraduates
in the United States, England, Germany and China, and the effect in women was
consistent across cultures.
The colour of the photo border or
the man’s shirt had no effect on males.
In many societies worldwide, red
has long been associated with the rich and powerful, as evidenced by rolling
out the “red carpet” at high-profile events, Elliot noted in the release.
And in non-human primates, such as
mandrills and gelada baboons, red is an indicator of male dominance and is
expressed more intensely in alpha males. Females of these species are more
likely to mate with alpha males.
“When women see red it triggers
something deep and probably biologically engrained,” Mr. Elliot said.
The study is published in the 2
August issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
A 2008 study by the same
researchers showed that the colour red also enhanced men’s attraction to women.