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Kayser, Daniela Niesta; Agthe, Maria; Maner, Jon K. (2016): Strategic Sexual Signals: Women's Display versus Avoidance of the Color Red Depends on the Attractiveness of an Anticipated Interaction Partner.
In: PLOS ONE 11(3), e0148501


The color red has special meaning in mating-relevant contexts. Wearing red can enhance perceptions of women's attractiveness and desirability as a potential romantic partner. Building on recent findings, the present study examined whether women's (N = 74) choice to display the color red is influenced by the attractiveness of an expected opposite-sex interaction partner. Results indicated that female participants who expected to interact with an attractive man displayed red (on clothing, accessories, and/or makeup) more often than a baseline consisting of women in a natural environment with no induced expectation. In contrast, when women expected to interact with an unattractive man, they eschewed red, displaying it less often than in the baseline condition. Findings are discussed with respect to evolutionary and cultural perspectives on mate evaluation and selection.