Elliot and his colleagues -- Roger Feltman and Daniela Niesta Kayse -- conducted two studies to show just how sexy red is. In one, they told 23 male undergraduates that they were about to participate in a study that would -- clever cover -- simulate an online chat with women, but in reality was a study about whether the men would ask a girl wearing a red shirt more intimate questions.
The men were told to look at a photo of the woman for five seconds. They were shown either a photo of a woman wearing a red shirt, or of one in a green shirt. The men were then given a folder brimming with 24 questions, and were instructed to choose five to ask the woman they'd seen in the photograph. The questions range from "Where are you from?" to "How could a guy get your attention at a bar?" Guys who saw the woman in the red shirt asked predominantly more questions about getting her attention at a bar.
A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Experimental Psychology by Eliot and an international team of researchers indicated that red's allure holds true for women as well. Across seven studies, the authors found that men who wear red are more attractive and more sexually desirable to women. "These findings indicate that color not only has aesthetic value but can carry meaning and impact psychological functioning in subtle, important, and provocative ways," the researchers said.
Eliot has a teenage daughter now, and she recently returned from a trip to the mall with a red dress. Her father's first thought? "I'm hiding that dress in the closet."