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Is the Red Effect a Sociologically or a Biologically Based Phenomenon?



This lab report concerns a study on a fascinating artifact in human cognition and subjective opinion. Namely, this lab report narrows down on the cause and effect of different colors on the perception of human beings, specifically in their effect on clothing choices and how those colors motivate people differently. More specifically, however, this lab report deals with “The Red Effect” in homosexuals specifically. There have been several studies done on this topic in the past, most of which qualitative, since it is generally illogical to summarize colors statistically as they are a rather subjective and unscientific notion, especially when dealing with human perception and opinion in specific. However, this study and lab report aims to fully quantize the effect that the color red when worn. In technical terms, this study will measure binary choices such as “Would you date this person” and so forth, in the observation of images of people of the opposite sex, wearing different colored clothing. Hopefully the large data sample will eliminate any possibility of accidental patterns.


Red Color Research

It is a very popular social artifact that different colors appear to be appealing to different extents. This is especially true in the dating game where people judge each other on first impressions and visual cues. When trying to make a good first impression people are often found worrying about what they would wear and the color of clothing seems to come into play more often than not. Many studies have shown that there is such a thing as a defined effect of redness, or “The Red Effect” in many animals, including apes and some studies have even shown that the red effect is observed in humans, but most of these studies have been qualitative, thus being inconclusive as to the extent of the effect that the color red has in attraction and such observations.

This study deals with homosexuals in particular and how “The Red Effect” seems to affect them in particular. Hopefully, this report will serve as addition to the currently developing picture of “The Red Effect”. The reason that homosexuals were chosen as a target group for the study is rather reasonable, considering that gender roles seem to play a large role in color appropriation. Granted, color appropriation in the scientific world is debunked as an entirely subjective matter that has no logical grounding, however, that doesn’t make it impossible to observe these subjective artifacts through the scientific method. Furthermore, this lab report will use linear regression to analyze the relationships between the color red in instantiation and the instantiation of positive or negative opinions in the interviewees. Ultimately, this study will prove conclusively whether the red effect is sociological or biological.


The study was conducted in such a way that it guaranteed a quantitative report of the situation, namely, the effect that the color red has when worn, in the perception of other people, specifically on the matter of courting and positive visual impressions. The people that we surveyed were all openly homosexual and they were asked questions off of sheets of paper, with no communication with an interviewer short of being supplied the questions. The questionnaires were entirely anonymous, short of the information that was needed for the actual report. The questions were not too numerous, but the amount of interviewees was, which was the point of the study. Basically, there were 20 questions in a format such as “Do you find this person romantically appealing?” and “Do you think this person is adventurous?” The questions were all binary, in that this lab report needed a clear and concise division and all questions gravitated either towards the conclusion that the color red affected people or did not affect people. The only difference is that half of the questions were directed at positive effect and the other half towards negative effect.

For example, some interviewees found that most of the images they were shown that contained people wearing the color red, they liked. These same people found that people wearing blue were unattractive. The pattern was more than clear, even with standard deviations, most people simply found people wearing red to be more attractive. There was an interesting turn of events in the results however, and it was made even more evident by the fact that the sample group was entirely consisted of gay people. Basically, the images shown contained both men and women, mixed at an equal random. While it was conclusive that the red effect is real and apparent in almost all the applicants, it was evident that the factor to which the red effect was in function was lesser when dealing with the opposite sex. Considering that all the applicants were homosexual, this leads to the conclusion that the gender that one is attracted to is the one that the red effect has more effect on.

The conclusion of this study is that to a very visible extent, the red effect exists and is more effective towards attractive genders. That is to say, a homosexual woman is more likely to be attracted to a woman wearing red than otherwise. Furthermore, that same woman is more likely to notice that the color red is flattering on a woman, than on a man, as even though she finds the color red attractive on a man, she does not find the man attractive because of her sexual preference. Due to these clearly biological influences on the color red and attractiveness, it is evident that the red effect is purely a biological one, unaffected by sociological constructs.