People really do 'see red' when they are angry, according to a new study that found preference for red colour over blue may be an indicator of a more hostile personality.
Scientists found that people who displayed signs of aggression and anger were more likely to choose the colour in a series of images that were neither fully red nor blue.
The connection, scientists said, may be connected to our evolution from ancestral hunter-gatherer times to link red with danger and threats.
Investigators at the North Dakota State University asked a group of people which colour they preferred, red or blue.
Results of personality tests showed that people who opted for red tended to be inter-personally more hostile, 'The Independent' reported.
Participants were then presented with images which were faded so they were red or blue to some extent.
There was no totally dominant colour, and they could be perceived as either.
People who predominantly saw red scored 25 per cent higher on indicators of hostility on personality tests.
"Hostile people have hostile thoughts; hostile thoughts are implicitly associated with the colour red, and therefore hostile people are biased to see this colour more frequently," researchers said.
The participants were finally provided imaginary scenarios where they could take various forms of action.
People who preferred red were more likely to indicate that they would harm another person in the scenarios than those who preferred blue, the report said.
"A core take-home message from this research is that colour can convey psychological meaning and, therefore, is not merely a matter of aesthetics," researchers said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Personality.