Men rated a woman shown in photographs as more sexually attractive if she was wearing red clothing or if she was shown in an image framed by a red border rather than some other colour, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.
The study led by psychology professor Andrew Elliot of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, seemed to confirm red as the colour of romance -- as so many Valentine's Day card makers and lipstick sellers have believed for years.
Although this "red alert" may be a product of human society associating red with love for eons, it also may arise from more primitive biological roots, Elliot said.
Noting the genetic similarity of humans to higher primates, he said scientists have shown that certain male primates are especially attracted to females of their species displaying red. For example, female baboons and chimpanzees show red colouring when nearing ovulation, sending a sexual signal that the males apparently find irresistible.