Current Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 316–323 | Cite as

Processing the Word Red can Enhance Women’s Perceptions of Men’s Attractiveness

  • Adam D. Pazda
  • Andrew J. Elliot


Prior research has shown that for women viewing men, perceiving the color red can enhance attractiveness judgments in some contexts. Additionally, an association exists between the processing of color words and the perception of color stimuli. The present studies examined whether processing the word red would lead to similar psychological effects of perceiving color stimuli. Specifically, we tested whether reading a description of a man wearing a red shirt (relative to other colors) can enhance women’s perceptions of the man’s attractiveness. Experiments 1, 2, and 3 provided support for this effect for red-gray and red-green contrasts. The findings are discussed with regard to grounded theories of cognition, which suggest that knowledge about color and experience of perceiving color are integrated in a multimodal fashion. Practical implications of the red effect for interpersonal perception and interaction are discussed along with general implications in the domain of color psychology.


Color Red Cognitive processing Attractiveness 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in these studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflicts of Interest

Adam D. Pazda declares that he has no conflicts of interest. Andrew J. Elliot also declares that he has no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South Carolina – AikenAikenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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