Men who have a habit of reaching for a red "power tie" to give off an air of confidence in meetings or interviews should think again.

According to researchers at Durham University, rather than conveying a certain testosterone-fuelled fortitude, red clothing sends out a signal that the wearer is angry, aggressive and prone to dominant behaviour.

In what may be an echo of the way certain male animals use displays of red to warn off competitors, men (but not women) also associated other men wearing red with dominance - this builds on research that shows wearing red can be an advantage in sport.

Being perceived as aggressive or dominant may be an advantage in some circumstances but a disadvantage in others where teamwork or trustworthiness is important.

  • Diana Wiedemann, Durham University
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