More on Red (09-17-20)

Research continues to detail the many, nuanced implications of seeing the color red.  Pontes and Hoegg report that “Three studies demonstrate a red-derogation effect for married women’s judgments such that men are perceived to be less attractive and less sexually desirable when their profiles are displayed on a red versus a white background. We show that married (vs. single) women perceive the color red as a threat cue which, in turn, evokes avoidance tendencies. Our studies indicated that married (vs. single) women became more risk averse . . . after exposure to an attractive male presented on a red (vs. white) background. . . . When married women were cognitively depleted [have fewer cognitive resources available], the effect of color was mitigated [reduced]. . . . the findings demonstrate that a subtle peripheral cue (e.g., red color) is sufficient to identify an attractive other as a threat, which activates a defensive strategy.”

Nicolas Pontes and JoAndrea Hoegg.  2020. “The Red-Derogation Effect:  How the Color Red Affects Married Women’s Ratings of Male Attractiveness.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Applied, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 551-565, https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000256