The researchers found that the red effect was limited to status and romance. Red made the man seem more powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable, but did not make the man seem more likable, kind, or sociable. The effect was consistent across cultures. Undergraduates in the United States, England, Germany, and China all found men more attractive when wearing or bordered by red.
The effect was limited to women. When males were asked to rate the attractiveness of a pictured male, color made no difference in their responses. (Wonder if red would make a difference to homosexual men? The prediction, I'm guessing, is that it would.)
"We typically think of color in terms of beauty and aesthetics,"
said Elliot. "But color carries meaning as well and affects our perception and behavior in important ways without our awareness."
In a prior study, Elliot documented that men are more attracted to women in red. But the red effect depends on the context. Elliot and others have also shown that seeing red in competitive situations, such as IQ tests or sporting events, leads to worse performance.