Red or dead?

If you’re unlucky in love, a little wardrobe change may help. A new study out of the University of Rochester reveals that women may find men wearing red to be more attractive. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, consisted of seven different experiments with a total of 288 female and 25 male undergraduate students.

According to the UK’s Telegraph, in one experiment, participants were shown a photograph of a man, surrounded by either red or white and asked to rate his attractiveness on a nine point scale. AOL News reports that other experiments compared the effects of red versus blue, green, and gray, where subjects were asked to rate factors such as status, likeability and friendliness.

Red seemed to only affect the areas of romance and power, not friendliness or likeability. The authors indicate these associations between red and power may be due to elite members in societies such as Rome, China and Japan who wore red clothing as a sign of high status. They also reference practices such as the red carpet for celebrities.

Lead study author and psychology professor Andrew Elliot explains:

“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… And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction.”

The influence of red was limited to only women and did not affect the views of the male subjects on other men. The researchers report that women didn’t seem to have any awareness of the color’s impact on their choices, as none could correctly guess the purpose of the experiments. The appeal of red remained consistent across a variety of cultures and countries, including the United States, England, China and Germany.

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