Photo: flickr/Frank Kovalchek
It's known that men are especially attracted to women wearing red, and men assume that these women are more interested in sex. But are they? This study set out to determine whether the color that men find so sexy is actually "intentionally" (but subconsciously) used by women to signal their fertility. Using Amazon's mTurk, the authors asked women two questions: 1) "What color shirt are you currently wearing?", and 2) "How many days has it been since the onset of your last period of menses?" Using the results, they then determined that women in the fertile phase of their cycle were 3 times more likely to be wearing pink or red. Now try not thinking about that the next time you're in a large crowd!
Women are more likely to wear red or pink at peak fertility. "Although females of many species closely related to humans signal their fertile window in an observable manner, often involving red or pink coloration, no such display has been found for humans. Building on evidence that men are sexually attracted to women wearing or surrounded by red, we tested whether women show a behavioral tendency toward wearing reddish clothing when at peak fertility.Across two samples (N = 124), women at high conception risk were more than 3 times more likely to wear a red or pink shirt than were women at low conception risk, and 77% of women who wore red or pink were found to be at high, rather than low, risk. Conception risk had no effect on the prevalence of any other shirt color. Our results thus suggest that red and pink adornment in women is reliably associated with fertility and that female ovulation, long assumed to be hidden, is associated with a salient visual cue."