The Color Red: The Unconscious Effect on Males


Oftentimes, colors are equated to emotions. Blue is a metaphorical symbol of sadness while green is the color of envy. Red, on the other hand, has been a long standing symbol of love, passion, and romance. While not much has been said about blue and green, recent research has proven that red truly is the color of sexual attraction.

Dr. Andrew Elliot and Dr. Daniela Niesta, both of the University of Rochester, have been working on understanding the psychology of color and uncovering how different colors affect the human psyche. The most recent discovery is that men do find women more attractive when visually stimulated by the color red.

These results, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, came after extensive research involving five psychological experiments. The primary experiment involved the male test subjects reviewing different photographs. The photographs compared red frames to other colored frames like green and grey. Another test introduced photographs of women wearing a red or blue blouse. For these tests, the men were questioned on topics like how attractive the woman in the picture was or how much money he would spend on the woman in the photograph if they were planning a date. Repeatedly, the men tested found the women in pictures with red present more attractive than photographs where the color red was not present.

Conversely, the unconscious stimulation in males caused by the color red did not affect female test subjects who reviewed a similar set of photographs.

sex appeal rose

What can this mean? While more research is underway, the impact of this information can be significant when it comes to making choices. For instance, the fashion industry is bound to see the importance of these findings and we may see a boost in the number of red garments hanging in stores in the near future.

If you are a woman willing to take advantage of this new found knowledge, just remember that red did not change the men’s view of the woman’s intelligence, humor, or wit – men solely associated the color red with a woman’s sex appeal and physical looks.