Two University of Rochester psychologists demonstrate that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women -- yet men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.
Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher said it may be no accident that red hearts are associated with Valentine's Day.
To quantify the red effect, the study looked at men's responses to photographs of women under a variety of color presentations. In one experiment, test subjects looked at a woman's photo framed by a border of either red or white and answered a series of questions, such as: "How pretty do you think this person is?" Other experiments contrasted red with gray, green or blue.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found under all conditions, the women shown framed by or wearing red were rated significantly more attractive and sexually desirable by men than the exact same women shown with other colors.
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