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The effect of red on attractiveness for highly attractive women

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Previous research has shown that red can increase men’s perception of women’s attractiveness. However, this effect is absent under certain conditions, such as when women have masculine, unattractive, or older features. We sought to test whether this red-attraction effect would be present at the other end of the continuum, specifically, for highly attractive, provocatively dressed young women. In three experiments (the second and third of which were pre-registered), we manipulated the color of highly attractive models’ lingerie and assessed men’s perceptions of their sexual receptivity, attractiveness, and sexual appeal. Results revealed higher ratings across each variable for women in red, relative to green, across all 3 experiments. Furthermore, in Experiment 3, perceived sexual receptivity mediated the relations between red and both attractiveness and sexual appeal. Overall, these results show that the color red can further bolster the attractiveness and desirability of already highly attractive and desirable woman.

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Correspondence to Adam D. Pazda.

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Pazda, A.D., Thorstenson, C.A. & Elliot, A.J. The effect of red on attractiveness for highly attractive women. Curr Psychol 42, 8066–8073 (2023).

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