Seeing Red? That Might Explain Why You Bid Too Much On eBay

red, wire, fabric

Photo: Flickr / rosmary

We already knew you could tell a lot about homeowners by what colour they painted their front door, but now a new study suggests that seeing red makes people more aggressive—and more likely to offer higher bid jumps in online auctions like eBay. According to Rajesh Bagchi and Amar Cheema’s aptly-titled study, “The Effect of Red Background colour on Willingness-to-Pay,” aggressive people tend to place higher than average bids when they see red than when they see blue because they feel more competitive.

Things change when the people seeing red go to negotiate with a seller, however. Because they’re pressed to get the best deal possible, the authors found these people will lowball their offer the most. 

“Such aggression would decrease willingness to pay,” said the authors. 

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