Kramer, R. S. S. (2016). The red power(less) tie: Perceptions of political leaders wearing red. Evolutionary Psychology, 14(2), 1-8.

Research has demonstrated that wearing red can have significant effects on perceptions of the wearer. However, these findings are based on impressions formed while viewing static images. Here, I focus on perceptions of political leaders and show participants short videos in order to investigate color effects in stimuli with increased ecological validity. Viewers watched videos of politicians and made judgments regarding how dominant, how good a leader, and how believable the politicians appeared to be. The colors of the politicians’ ties were digitally manipulated to be red or blue. Whether the politician was familiar (Study 1) or unfamiliar to viewers (Study 2), tie color had no effect on perceptions. Even when the sound was muted in order to increase the influence of visual cues (Study 3), I found no clothing color effect. Finally, when only presented with a static image (Study 4), wearing red still had no effect on judgments. These results suggest that, at least in a political setting, wearing red has no effect on perceptions. Therefore, real-world applications associated with red clothing may be limited.

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