Science Explains Why We Have Favorite Colors - Deepstash
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Why We Have Favourite Colours

Why We Have Favourite Colours

Historically, it has been difficult to empirically explain why we like certain colours.

It is still difficult to explain why people like some colors more than others. Here are some theories that may help us understand why we have favorites.


152 reads

Ecological Valence Theory

Ecological Valence Theory

Through a series of lab studies between 2010 and 2017, assistant professor Karen Schloss and her collaborator, Stephen Palmer PhD hypothesized the Ecological Valence Theory (EVT), which they describe as people that "like/dislike a given colour to the degree that they like/dislike all of the objects and entities that they associate with that colour."

People often like blue hues because it reminds them of clear skies and clean water. People tend to shy away from brown hues because they remind us of faeces or rotting food.


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Color WAVE

To explore EVT, Schloss and Palmer conducted a series of studies. Participants ranked colour preferences, what colours reminded them of particular objects, and if those objects represented positive or negative things.

This resulted in Weighted Affected Valence Estimates (WAVE). They found that  80% of the change in average colour preferences from one group to another was based on how much other people like objects related to those colours. With this data, they could explore different topics of colour preferences like individual preferences, changes over time or even cultural preferences.


91 reads

How  Someone Feels About Objects of that Colour

How Someone Feels About Objects of that Colour

A person may have positive or negative feelings about certain colours because of their experience with objects of those colours over time.

Young girls tend to like pink and purple colours because they are often exposed to clothes, toys and television shows they enjoy that use those colours. They see vomit and other gross substances in the yellowish-greenish hues, making them apt to dislike those colours.


94 reads

An Evolutionary Drive to Be Happy

An Evolutionary Drive to Be Happy

Colour preference may be part of our evolutionary design. Colour preferences guide us toward positive things for our general health and well-being and away from negative things.

Choosing a colour we like for our loveseat helps us thrive while avoiding colours that cause us to fail. We have a learning mechanism to learn associations between colours and objects or concepts and then use them to inform our judgments about colours.


80 reads



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