Men who wear red clothes send out a signal that they are angry and aggressive, in much the same way as if their face had reddened, a new research has found.

Researchers from Durham University showed 50 male and 50 female volunteers images of men in different coloured t-shirts.

The participants rated those wearing red as more aggressive and angry than those in blue or grey.

However, while the male volunteers also tended to consider men wearing red as ‘dominant’, the female volunteers did not.

The results of the research may have parallels in nature and could provide insights into whether it is advisable to wear red in certain social situations, said Rob Barton, Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University, who led the study.

Red often signals aggression in animals – and the tendency for men to turn red-faced when they are angry is believed to be inherited from our ancient ancestors as a warning sign, researchers said.

In some animal species, red may be displayed by competing males trying to dominate each another to win the right to mate with females, Barton said.

"The implications of our research are that people may wish to think carefully about wearing red in social situations and perhaps important meetings, such as job interviews," said PhD student Diana Wiedemann from the Department of Anthropology.

"Being perceived as aggressive or dominant may be an advantage in some circumstances but a disadvantage in others, for example where teamwork or trustworthiness is important," said Wiedemann.

The study was published in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters.