When it comes to the tricky art of seduction, there are a lot of things to keep an eye out for. Now, the next time you’re at a party, beware of women wearing red. You may unconsciously think she’s more open to your advances than she really is. In a recent study, men rated a red-shirted woman as more interested in sex than the same picture of her in white. The style of the shirt was identical, with only the color changed. In some subtle way, red acts as a signal to men that woman are ready for business. Red is not just for Valentine’s Day, though. Female chimpanzees and mandrills—a type of baboon—both use red to let males know that they are fertile. Hormone changes open up the blood vessels in their face, which causes the skin to flush. The males eagerly respond to their future blushing brides. Human males also fall prey to other unconscious triggers, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. For example, men tend to find women more sexually appealing if they think she’ll fall for a pickup line. The researchers of this study think that red’s sexual appeal is left over from our evolutionary past, something that once signaled fertility but now mostly sells magazines. Not everyone is convinced, however. The fondness of men for a woman in a red dress could be cultural, passed down to us through decades of watching movies.
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