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Isobel Heck, Karen Schloss; Color preferences change with changes in environmental colors. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1314. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1314.
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A previous study on seasonal variations in color preferences found that people like colors associated with a particular season more during that season than during other seasons (Nelson, Schloss, Parker, and Palmer, VSS2012). Color preferences were only assessed once during each season, so the time course of the shifts in color preference was unknown. In this study we investigated whether color preferences change with changes in environmental colors during a single season. In autumn in New England the environment continually changes color as the leaves turn from deep green to yellows, oranges and reds. We were interested in whether people’s preferences for autumn leaf colors would increase as the leaves turned. We tested participants’ preferences for the Berkeley Color Project (BCP) 37 colors during nine sessions that took place over the course of 11 weeks in autumn (within-subject longitudinal design). The first session (baseline) took place before the leaves began to change and the last session was conducted once the trees were bare. We documented the changes by taking photographs on the Brown University campus every week for the duration of the study. We also collected colorful autumn leaves, matched them to Munsell chips, and determined which of the BCP-37 colors best corresponded to the leaf colors. We tested whether there was a differential change in preference for autumn leaf colors compared to non-autumn leaf colors. As the leaves changed, there was a significant linear increase in preference for autumn leaf colors, but no significant change for the non-autumn leaf colors. At the end of the study, we assessed individuals’ preferences for autumn and for fall specific objects/events, which we obtained from a different set of participants. These results provide the first evidence that changes in environmental colors are linked to changes in color preferences.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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