Looking to attract a partner? Better not wear blue.
According to a new study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, people don’t associate the color with physical attraction. However, they’re far more likely to rate themselves as attractive when wearing red.
In the study, 180 German college students were asked to wear either red or blue t-shirts, then sit in front of mirrors while filling out a quiz about how they perceived themselves. The participants were told that the study’s goal was to predict how people assume personality traits based on facial features.
Afterward, participants were asked to take pictures of themselves and rate their attractiveness.
“As expected, participants in the red shirt condition indicated a higher level of self-attractiveness than participants in the blue condition,” the study’s authors wrote. “Moreover, the results showed that the self-perception red effect was mediated by the individuals’ self-perceived sexual receptivity and self-perceived status.”
“I personally like to draw in my spare time, that is why I am interested in effects of color in the first place,” said Anne Berthold of the University of Zurich, the study’s corresponding author, in an interview with Psypost. “Then, as I read the article of Elliot et al. on the
“It is worth noting that an underlying reason for the
Other studies have shown that red seems to significantly affect sexual attraction.
A 2016 study performed by psychologists at the Technische Universität Dortmund found that red enhances men’s attraction to young women. However, the color didn’t seem to have an effect on men’s perception of menopausal women.
Scientists aren’t entirely sure whether red affects attraction due to a physical response or cultural conditioning. Some argue that because red is closely linked with love—think of the red hearts you’ll see around Valentine’s Day—the effect is purely a result of social conditioning.
However, some scientists disagree, noting that ancient societies used the color red for similar purposes. The color might be telling because it’s seen as a signifier of a physiological response; people often blush when flirting, for instance, turning red to show their attraction. In other animals, red is associated with ovulation, which has obvious implications for fertility.
In any case, the color seems to affect both men and women. If you’re looking to impress, grab that red dress or t-shirt—and leave the blues at home.