Monday, December 8, 2008

Men Are Red, Women Are Green, Study Says

Men tend to have reddish skin while women's is more green, according to a new psychological study.

Michael J. Tarr of Brown University said in a news release that color is an important part of how people tell a man from a woman.

In the lab, Tarr's team analyzed 200 images of faces of white people from a databank in Germany. He then used a computer to analyze the amount of red and green pigment in the faces.

He found that men have more red in their faces and women have more green, contrary to prior assumptions.

"If it is on the more red end of the spectrum (the face) had a higher probability of being male. Conversely, if it is on the green end of the spectrum (the face) had a higher probability of being female," Tarr said.

Some women's faces are much redder and some men's faces are much greener, the researcher said, but Tarr concluded that people use the color of a face when trying to identify its gender. That is particularly true when the shape of the given face is ambiguous or hidden, such as tests he performed where most of the shape and details of face were blurred, but people were still able to correctly guess the sex of the person in the photo.

Tarr said the information has a number of potential industry or consumer applications in areas such as facial recognition technology, advertising and studies of how and why women apply makeup.

The research was reported in the journal Psychological Science.


Brown University, Psychological Science

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