Past research has shown that in many situations the color red has an effect on the way women are viewed. When women wear red, they may be perceived by men as having higher sexual intent and by women as more of a threat. For men, red has often been associated with dominance and power. The present study examines whether red affects jury decision-making, especially since red has also been associated with hostile choices. An online survey of college students was used to explore the hypothesis that when a woman involved in a sexual assault trial is pictured in red, she will be victimized more in that the defendant will receive a lesser sentencing for the assault. It is further hypothesized that when the crime is not sexual (e.g., embezzlement) the red effect may not apply. In the first case, although the hypotheses test results were not statistically significant at the .05 level. The average sentencing that defendants received in sexual assault trials was found to be shorter when the woman wore colors other than red. In the second case, women in red received the highest average sentence in embezzlement trials. This suggests that there could be some dominance and intelligence associated with women wearing red and that future studies should examine this further.
"The Red Effect in Jury Decision-Making,"
Kean Quest: Vol. 1:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.kean.edu/keanquest/vol1/iss1/2