Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.
"Our research demonstrates a parallel in the way that human and nonhuman male primates respond to red," concluded the authors.
"In doing so, our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed that men act like animals in the sexual realm.
For example, Elliot and others have shown that seeing red in competition situations, such as written examinations or sporting events, leads to worse performance.
In this experiment, men were queried not only about their attraction to the woman, but their intentions regarding dating.
One question asked: "Imagine that you are going on a date with this person and have 0 in your wallet.
And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.
The research provides the first empirical support for society's enduring love affair with red.
"It's fascinating to find that something as ubiquitous as color can be having an effect on our behavior without our awareness." Although this aphrodisiacal effect of red may be a product of societal conditioning alone, the authors argue that men's response to red more likely stems from deeper biological roots.