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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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Red enhances women’s attractiveness to men: First evidence suggesting universality

Author(s): Elliot AJ, Tracy JL, Pazda AD, Beall AT

Abstract

Recent research in the U.S. and Europe indicates that viewing red enhances men's attraction to women. This red effect may reflect a basic predisposition shared across cultures, and may thus represent a functional human universal — that is, a psychological process that carries the same meaning in all human societies (Norenzayan & Heine, 2005). We conducted a first test of this universality hypothesis by examining the influence of red on attraction among men living in an isolated traditional small-scale society in Burkina Faso where red carries explicitly negative associations. The results indicated that the red effect is present in Burkina, and that it emerges in culturally appropriate expressions of attraction. These findings represent first evidence suggesting that red may operate as something of a lingua franca in the human mating game.

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