Study: Women In Red Give Off Threatening Signals To Other Women

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 07/15/2014 | 08:30 AM EDT

Researchers find that a little red dress comes with big perceptions

It looks like there’s more to a little red dress than what meets the eye. New research reveals that men aren’t the only ones who take notice of a woman in the color of scarlett.

According to researchers at the University of Rochester, women donning red are seen as threatening to other women, as well as more interested in sex.

"Our results suggest that women perceive and behave toward other women in red as if these other women are actively advertising" their availability, wrote the researchers, led by psychologist Adam Pazda. The study is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


For the experiment, nearly 200 women were shown pictures of a relatively attractive woman in her 20s. Half of the women saw her wearing a white dress, while the other half saw her in a red dress.

The women looking at the woman in red were more likely to say things like "I would guess that this woman cheats on men" and other shaming statements. They were also more likely to guard their partners against her. The scientists found similar results when they showed another group of women a picture of a woman in either a red shirt or green shirt.

While the study doesn’t necessarily pinpoint or hypothesize why the color red gives off such perceptions, it’s long been equated with sex and romance - hence, why holiday’s like Valentine’s Day are traditionally associated with red.

Past research with men showed that guys rate women in red as more sexually receptive because of a biological trigger that equates the color red with sex.

(Photo: GettyImages)

Cynthia Bailey's New Boo Yahu Blackwell Is Fine As Hell

related stories

Case of Sexual Reeling

When You're In Love, But Your Man Doesn't Turn You On

The Art of Letting Go

When Your Ex Moves On, But You're Still Holding On

What Sleeping Naked Does...

Being in the buff can bring you and your mate closer

Keep Friends Out!

Your relationship is for you and your man, not your girls