High Testosterone Increases Competitor’s Chances of Choosing Red

Athletes who wear red have an advantage on the playing field, according to previous studies. This study investigated if testosterone levels affected a competitor’s choice of a red or blue identifying marker. The 73 men in the study were told that they would be doing competitive tasks and were asked to choose a red or blue marker that would represent then on the scoreboard. Saliva tests were performed before and after the tasks to measure testosterone levels. After completing the tasks the men were asked how different characteristics were associated with the color that they chose. Men with higher baseline testosterone levels were more likely to choose red than blue, but choosing red was not associated with an increase in testosterone levels during the study. Men who choose red rated it as more risky, powerful, and aggressive than those who choose blue. Choosing red was not associated with better performance on the tasks. This suggest that wearing red does not improve a competitor’s performance as much as it affects opponents’ perceptions about the quality of the competitors they are facing.