Event Title

Cultural Dimensions of Color: A Study of Male and Female College Students' Color Perceptions

Presenter Information

Stephanie Hersh, English

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Jason Paling

Location

Hartman Union Building Courtroom

Presentation Type

Event

Start Date

5-3-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

5-3-2018 3:00 PM

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine if there are differences in how college-aged men and women perceive color. Previous studies using free listing methods to determine basic color perceptions among cultural groups in different geographical locations have suggested that females distinguish a greater number of colors than males do, but the cause of this phenomenon remains open to investigation. Given numerous studies that identify cultural expectations of greater emotional expressiveness in females than in males, I hypothesized that a color-listing exercise performed by college-aged men and women would evidence these cultural patterns due to the tendency of human beings to associate color hues with specific emotions. I used the free listing method to record and measure the numbers and types of colors five male and five female Plymouth State University students have relatively immediate cognitive access to. Data were coded as basic color terms and color variation terms to measure the scope of color recognition beyond elemental "rainbow" colors. Aligning with established research on gender-based color perception, my results showed females naming more colors than males in the color-listing task. As expected, females also named more color variations than males, but interestingly, males listed slightly more basic color terms than females. A tentative conclusion was drawn that these divergent identifications with nuanced and basic colors might be indicative of differences in females’ and males’ articulation of a more or less nuanced emotional range. Females' rapid access to a broader emotional range should not be taken to mean that females have a more expansive emotional capacity, but rather that there may be a cultural bias that allows females to be more emotionally communicative than males.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 3rd, 2:00 PM May 3rd, 3:00 PM

Cultural Dimensions of Color: A Study of Male and Female College Students' Color Perceptions

Hartman Union Building Courtroom

The purpose of this study is to determine if there are differences in how college-aged men and women perceive color. Previous studies using free listing methods to determine basic color perceptions among cultural groups in different geographical locations have suggested that females distinguish a greater number of colors than males do, but the cause of this phenomenon remains open to investigation. Given numerous studies that identify cultural expectations of greater emotional expressiveness in females than in males, I hypothesized that a color-listing exercise performed by college-aged men and women would evidence these cultural patterns due to the tendency of human beings to associate color hues with specific emotions. I used the free listing method to record and measure the numbers and types of colors five male and five female Plymouth State University students have relatively immediate cognitive access to. Data were coded as basic color terms and color variation terms to measure the scope of color recognition beyond elemental "rainbow" colors. Aligning with established research on gender-based color perception, my results showed females naming more colors than males in the color-listing task. As expected, females also named more color variations than males, but interestingly, males listed slightly more basic color terms than females. A tentative conclusion was drawn that these divergent identifications with nuanced and basic colors might be indicative of differences in females’ and males’ articulation of a more or less nuanced emotional range. Females' rapid access to a broader emotional range should not be taken to mean that females have a more expansive emotional capacity, but rather that there may be a cultural bias that allows females to be more emotionally communicative than males.