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Why the colour red reminds us of danger and dominance

June 9, 2011 - Washington

When we see the red colour what comes to our mind is stop, danger, hot or dominance as was revealed by a recent study, but the reason for these effects remains largely unknown.

Now, a new study on male rhesus macaques has strongly suggested the it lies in it's evolution.

"The similarity of our results with those in humans suggests that avoiding red or acting submissively in its presence may stem from an inherited psychological predisposition," said Dartmouth College neuroscientist Jerald D. Kralik.

The study involved male rhesus macaques-a species of Old World monkeys that is sensitive to red, green, and blue-ranging freely in Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico.

Human experimenters wearing T-shirts and caps, whose colours were red, green, and blue offered apple slices to the monkeys.

In a significant majority of cases, the monkeys steered clear of the red-clad humans and stole the food from the other tray.

The researchers believe that this aversion to red reflects an evolutionary adaptation.

Their findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.


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