Women feel threatened by ‘the lady in red’

July 14, 2014

Researchers at the University of Rochester have been looking at how the color red affects the way that people perceive others for a number of years now. One previous study looked at how men perceive women differently when they dressed in red versus other colors. In that study, participants were shown photos of women that were identical, with the exception of their clothing color. The men in that study saw the women that were wearing red in the photos as appearing more sexually interested and available than the women who were wearing other colors.

Researchers wanted to find out if women shared the same perceptions as the men did, so they did the same study with a group of women, asking them how they saw these women in the different photos. As with the previous study, the women surveyed also saw those in the photos that were wearing red as being more sexually interested than those women who were wearing other colors. Researchers also found that the participants in the study were more likely to see the women that wore red as being more sexually promiscuous and less likely to be able to commit to a monogamous relationship. When asked if they would be likely to introduce these women to their husband or boyfriend, they were less likely to do so with the women wearing red as well.

Adam Pazda, a graduate student in psychology and lead author of the paper published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, said that like previous studies, the takeaway is that it’s important to be aware of the impact that color can have on perception. While it may not mean that women should put away that red dress and never wear it again, it could be helpful to understand the complex relationship of color and perception as they navigate the social world.

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Category: Science & Technology

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