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Psychol Sci. 2013 Sep;24(9):1837-41. doi: 10.1177/0956797613476045. Epub 2013 Jul 10.

Women are more likely to wear red or pink at peak fertility.

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University of British Columbia.


Although females of many species closely related to humans signal their fertile window in an observable manner, often involving red or pink coloration, no such display has been found for humans. Building on evidence that men are sexually attracted to women wearing or surrounded by red, we tested whether women show a behavioral tendency toward wearing reddish clothing when at peak fertility. Across two samples (N = 124), women at high conception risk were more than 3 times more likely to wear a red or pink shirt than were women at low conception risk, and 77% of women who wore red or pink were found to be at high, rather than low, risk. Conception risk had no effect on the prevalence of any other shirt color. Our results thus suggest that red and pink adornment in women is reliably associated with fertility and that female ovulation, long assumed to be hidden, is associated with a salient visual cue.


color perception; conception risk; evolutionary psychology; fertility; human mate selection; ovulation; physical appearance; social cognition

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