Apparently, the Lady in Red beats the Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress

by Gene on Nov. 12th, 2008

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Man, maybe Chris de Burgh was on to something...unfortunately. Interesting, though: in most of the video, the "lady" isn't wearing red at all. Watching this made me laugh like crazy. The 80s were something else...

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 12:58pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

what does this have to do with science? yes, both are songs, but i see no link that proves what is being said.

beauty is only skin deep, so should that be the ONLY thing we use as a determinant for what is apealing? what about personality, intelligence, etc.? in addition,
both kinds of dresses can be quite appealing, and those aren't the only appealing colors out there. what about 'devil in a blue dress?'

there's another song that is relevant here about appearance: 'you're never fully dressed without a smile'. in the end, THAT is the most appealing thing to me in a woman's appearance.

the only thing that might be in argument for why the lady in red might beat the long cool woman in the black dress is that more people remember the more recent song, as the lady in red is more recent.

but the greater question is why this is a blog posting, when it's filed under sex appeal and i thought this was supposed to be a g-rated site since kids read these.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 1:42pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

iowaboy, did you click on the link under the title? The red words, "mileage may vary"? There's a link there to some research that shows that " 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 color...".

The link is to a Reuters story, which was picked up by many other news feeds and national newspapers. I don't think it's inappropriate. I think it's interesting that the scientific method can help us figure out why we respond in such unconscious ways to various stimuli.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 1:57pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The study was not about the songs; it was about men's reactions to visual stimulii. I apologize for any confusion.

The study was designed to isolate a single variable, and not to test all possible definitions of beauty.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 4:43pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

it didn't say 'read this link to an article'. it just said 'mileage may vary'.

i read the article, but what i posted earlier still applies. when it's supposed to be a scientific study, it appears that the parameters of testing are limited, if they are only going by what color of dress she is wearing.

and what i know about science is that theories are disproven all the time- sceintists once considered water to be an element on its own, instead of made up of 2 distinct elements.

related to fashion, it is also a fickle thing as to what is considered attractive. there was a joke about fashion changing so quickly, every 6 months. it seems to be true when considering what fashion designers will make, how shorter skirts tend to be more popular when the stock market is up and longer skirts when it's down.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 2:11pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I wasn't trying to negate or refute anything that you've posted, iowaboy. I just wanted to make sure that you knew there was a link, and to let everyone know that the link is to a science article. Just FYI: when you see text in red like that on Science Buzz, it's always a link.

I don't know enough about the particulars of how this study was conducted to say whether or not it was a good study. But, from the description, it seems pretty typical of psychology research.

Sure, someone else could come along and do a study that turns the results of this one upside-down. Or they could come up with a radically different interpretation of the results. That's why scientists publish studies. The critique is part of the process, and only good results stand the test of time.

Fashion is fickle. There's no question about that. But the results of this study, and others, seems to suggest that there's something about a preference for red that's hard-wired into us. From the article,

"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, [lead researcher Andrew] 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 coloring when nearing ovulation, sending a sexual signal that the males apparently find irresistible.

'It could be this very deep, biologically based automatic tendency to respond to red as an attraction cue given our evolutionary heritage,' Elliot, whose findings appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, said in a telephone interview."

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 3:56pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

also duly noted. i'm the type that points out what doesn't look quite right to me.

standing the test of time, i like that line due to studying history. as we do celebrate whatever can, as not everything can or will,be it in science or any other subject.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 4:12pm

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