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article imageColor red sends out aggressive signals

By Tim Sandle     May 13, 2015 in Lifestyle
A new study warns that wearing red can send out the wrong signals. Fine if you want to appear confident and perhaps aggressive, but for many situations red is a "big no."
Is the research controversial? First off, it is based on a relatively small sample size. On the other hand, the questions asked of the subjects were fairly in-depth. The study was led by
Rob Barton, Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University (U.K.)
The study took 100 subjects (split equally between men and women), who were shown images of men in different colored t-shirts. According to The Daily Mail, the t-shirts had been digitally altered so that they appeared in a broad range of colors. The subjects were asked to rate those images that appeared either ‘aggressive’ or ‘angry’. This was on a scale of 1 to 7. The results showed that those wearing the red t-shirts were rated most highly in the ‘aggressive’ category.
Elaborating on the findings, the research team speculate that becoming red-faced when angry could be the body’s way of signalling a warning sign. Commenting on this, one of the researchers, Diana Wiedemann, told CTV News: “Being perceived as aggressive or dominant may be an advantage in some circumstances, but a disadvantage in others. For example, where teamwork or trustworthiness is important.”
The new finding has parallels with other research. Earlier German research found a potential bias in favour of fighters wearing red after taekwondo referees were asked to score recorded footage of sparring rounds. In a study referees awarded 13 per cent more points to competitors in red. Similar results were recorded even when the images were digitally altered to put a “losing” blue fighter in red clothing.
In terms of whether any of this matters, further interviews with the subjects - asking them about their emotional state - suggested that many men see wearing red as a sign of dominance and perhaps something positive or even ‘macho’. However, these feelings do not appear to be reciprocated in woman. However these differences are disentangled the research suggests that people might wish to avoid wearing red in social situations, especially if they are meeting other people for the first time.
As Wiedmann told Medicalxpress: “The implications of our research are that people may wish to think carefully about wearing red in social situations and perhaps important meetings, such as job interviews.”
The findings have yet to be published; however the data will soon be presented in the journal Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
More about Red, Color, Aggression, Men, Gender
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