Women prefer a man in red
Published 03/08/2010 | 15:48
Wearing red makes men more attractive to women, research claims.
Women found men more appealing when they were either pictured wearing red or framed in red, compared with other colours, it found.
Red is known to increase the compatibility of women to men and has also been shown to enhance performance in sport.
But this is the first time researchers have shown that it works with men too.
“Red is typically thought of as a sexy colour for women only,” said Andrew Elliot, of the University of Rochester and University of Munich.
“Our findings suggest that the link between red and sex also applies to men.”
The finding is reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published by the American Psychological Association.
Twenty-five men and 32 women briefly viewed a black-and-white photo of a man in a polo shirt, surrounded by a red or white background.
Using a nine-point scale, they answered three questions: “How attractive do you think this person is?” “How pleasant is this person to look at?” and “If I were to meet the person in this picture face to face, I would think he is attractive.”
Women who looked at a man surrounded by red or white rated the man surrounded by red a little over one point higher on a nine-point scale of attractiveness, a statistically significant bump.
It had no effect on men.
Another experiment featured a man in a colour photo, dressed in either a red or a green shirt.
A pool of 55 women rated the man in red as significantly more attractive – on average, nearly one point higher on the same nine-point scale.
They also thought he was more desirable, according to a second, five-item measure that asked viewers to rate the likelihood that they’d want to have sex with him.
Although red means different things in different cultures, the finding of women (but not men) drawn to men in red was consistent across countries.
Women in a follow-up study perceived men wearing red T-shirts to be significantly more likely to be high in status than men wearing blue T-shirts, in addition to the men in red seeming more generally and sexually attractive.