On Red and Romance

January 31, 2013 @ Cleveland

Frame your photograph in red and you may look more attractive. What’s the powerful link between romance and red?

We humans have a tendency to learn faster those behaviors formed by natural selection, such as the association between arousal and the color red, says David G. Myers in “Psychology: Tenth Edition.” For example, female primates display red when nearing ovulation; in human females, enhanced blood flow produces the red blush of flirtation and sexual excitation.

“Does the frequent pairing of red and sex — with Valentine’s hearts, red-light districts and red lipstick — naturally enhance men’s attraction to women?” Myers poses. Experts suggest it does. And men who viewed a supposed conversational partner dressed in a red blouse rather than a green one chose to sit closer to her and asked more intimate questions. “And it’s not just men. Women tend to perceive men as more attractive when seen against a red background or in red clothing.”

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