Social conditioning may partly explain red's aphrodisiacal effect in men, but their responses likely stem from deeper biological roots, said the researchers, who noted that previous studies found that nonhuman male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red. For example, female chimpanzees and baboons redden when nearing ovulation -- a clear sexual signal to males.
"Our research demonstrates a parallel in the way that human and nonhuman male primates respond to red," the study authors concluded. "In doing so, our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed -- that men act like animals in the sexual realm. As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive."
The findings have implications for product design and marketing, the fashion industry, and dating, according to the researchers.
And while this study found that red enhanced men's romantic feelings, other studies have found the impact of a color can depend on context. For example, it's been shown that the presence of red in competitive settings, such as sporting events or written examinations, results in worse performance.
A University at Buffalo expert believes neurochemical processes explain romantic attraction.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: University of Rochester, news release, Oct. 28, 2008
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