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Just a reminder that life goes on (thanks to commenter Lemmus), from the British Journal of Social Psychology:

Are women more likely to wear red and pink at peak fertility? What about on cold days? Conceptual, close, and extended replications with novel clothing colour measures.

Evolutionarily minded researchers have hypothesized that women advertise their ovulatory status by wearing red or pink clothing on relatively cold days. Many of these studies have been based on samples of women who have self-reported their clothing choices, a practice that raises questions about accuracy. In two studies, we evaluated the relationship between women’s fertility and their clothing choices using four methods for measuring clothing colour: self-reports; trained raters’ judgements of garment coloration in outfits that women drew onto mannequins to represent what they would wear to a party with single attractive people in attendance; automated colour coding of the mannequins; and trained raters’ judgements of garment coloration as evinced in photographs that women took of themselves. Using these four measures of clothing choice along with measures of women’s fertility and outside temperature, we did not find compelling evidence that women are particularly inclined to wear red or pink during peak fertility, even on relatively cold days.

And, the conclusion:

Thus, it seems to us that additional attention to these research questions, motivated by strong theoretical rationale and large‐sample experiments with high‐quality measurement methods, remains a potentially productive direction for research.

Don’t ever change, social psychologists! You provide us with entertainment while we’re all stuck inside and with no sports to watch on TV.


  1. Phil says:

    Just want to point out that these are not really ‘replications’ since the tests didn’t occur the same number of days after a reported shark attack as in the original studies.

  2. Alasdair A MacAuley says:

    “strong theoretical rationale” – Did I miss something while dozing off in psych class? Wouldn’t we need some solid model of how thinking works for that rationale?

    • Martha (Smith) says:

      I think psychologists have a different idea of “theoretical” than I do — theirs seems to be rather wide-ranging, including any idea a psychologist might dream up.

  3. DMac says:

    A genuinely hilarious read! I love the idea that someone read the original ovulation and red clothing research, and their biggest concern with it’s design was ‘what if people can’t accurately self report the colour of the clothes they were wearing’??? Truly bizarre.

  4. Jonathan (another one) says:

    “trained raters’ judgements of garment coloration”…. No doubt trained on the

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