The INSIDER Summary:
• 12 women wore red on “The Bachelor” premiere.
• There are scientific studies that support the “red dress effect.”
• This supposed effect says people who wear red are seen as more attractive.
• It may have more to do with our perception of people who wear red than the colour itself.
ABC’s “The Bachelor” is back with veteran contestant Nick Viall at the helm, and the women got all dressed up to meet him at the Los Angeles mansion.
But one plot point in the two-hour-long series premiere involved the dresses many of the women were wearing — specifically, the 12 women who arrived dressed in red.
“I am not happy that I am one of 15 wearing a red dress,” Rachel, an attorney, exaggerated slightly in her one-on-one interview.
“Everyone’s in red, oh my god, how did this happen?” Hailey, a photographer, exclaimed to the group.
It turns out, there’s a psychological reason why many of the women may have turned to this colour for their first impression with Viall: They wanted to have an edge over their competitors with the “red dress effect.”
This disputed psychological phenomenon claims that people who wear red, especially red dresses, have a subconscious effect of appearing more attractive.
There have been a few different studies about the psychological effect of wearing or being near the colour red. In a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, women who wore red were rated as more attractive by the male participants. The researchers speculated it could be because men saw the women wearing red as “sexual[ly] susceptible.”
And in 2012, a study discovered waitresses in red received bigger tips from male customers. Meanwhile, an earlier 2011 study claimed that a female hitchhiker’s likelihood of getting a ride increased when she wore a red T-shirt, according to the BBC.
Of course, there have been detractors of the “red dress effect.” A 2016 study found no evidence for this supposed phenomenon, and Psychology Today posits the earlier studies’ results could have more to do with unconscious stereotypes about people who choose to wear the colour red rather than the colour’s effect itself.
But going back to “The Bachelor,” the contestants may have just assumed that a vibrant colour like red would help them stand out in a sea of other beautiful women. Or perhaps they just wanted to match those famous red roses given out to the chosen women who get to stay for another week.
Whatever the reason, considering only one woman was sent home wearing a red dress, perhaps the “red dress effect” really did work on Viall.
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