Revisiting the Red Effect on Attractiveness and Sexual Receptivity: No Effect of the Color Red on Human Mate Preferences

L.S. Peperkoorn, S. Craig Roberts, Thomas V. Pollet

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Abstract

Color-in-context theory is the first theoretical framework for understanding color effects in human mate preferences, arguing that red clothing enhances attractiveness ratings. Here we present three empirical studies failing to support this prediction. We aimed to extend the current literature by differentiating color effects by temporal context (short-term vs. long-term mating). Experiment 1 involved Dutch participants rating a woman in red, white, and black on (sexual) attractiveness. Experiment 2 replicated the first experiment with an American sample. In the final experiment, we aimed to replicate a study that did find evidence of a red effect, using a substantially larger sample size. The results from each of the three studies (totaling N = 830 men) fail to support the red effect. We discuss the implications of our results and avenues for future research on red effects and attractiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi: 10.1177/1474704916673841
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalEvolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • color
  • red
  • black
  • white
  • attraction
  • sexual attraction
  • human mate preferences
  • sexual receptivity

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