Is there reality to the idea that males prefer blue and women prefer pink? Claudia Hammond investigates, and also discovers why this colours matter much more than us think.

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It’s basic to spot the girls’ ar of a children’s garments shop due to the fact that most of the is pink. I understand a the majority of parents who urge that lock would like their daughters to wear other different, however pink seems to hold an irresistible allure because that them. However is that really true? Is it unpreventable that girls are born to prosper up to favor pink?

Various studies have actually looked in ~ colour choices in various age groups. In the US many have found that babies and also toddlers, whether masculine or female, are attracted to major colours such together red and blue. Pink doesn’t attribute high top top the list, although the is an ext popular 보다 brown and grey. Some researches of this period group have discovered blue is favoured, rather red, however they rarely find any kind of gender difference.


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In 2007, research performed at Newcastle university in the UK asked adult for your favourite colour. Did most of the women pick pink, or even red? No. The colour which came out top, because that both men and women, to be blue. But women, on average, rated the red shades much more highly 보다 the guys did. The writer speculated the this was because hunter-gatherer women traditionally had the task of collecting fruit, so they can be much more attuned to reddish shades of berries.

It’s not fairly clear why this should affect their likes and also dislikes. Perhaps it can lead come improved skills in discrimination between different shades that red, however there’s a missing step in the logic. Since some red berries room delicious and others room poisonous, why have to that make red her favourite colour? If women progressed to prefer red, this should be universal, but a study carried out last year with the Himba people in Namibia found there was no choice for red tones among women. Hard-wired colours?

Cultural norms may additionally shape color preferences. In cultures where pink is thought about the proper colour for a infant girl and blue for a baby boy, babies become accustomed from birth to safety time put on or even surrounded by, those colours. This renders it hard to recognize whether any kind of preferences expressed after that are hard-wired. Yet a study from 2011 make the efforts to gain closer to discovering what’s going on.

When one-year-old girls and also boys were shown pairs of similar objects such together bracelets, pill boxes and snapshot frames, yet with one thing pink and also another the a 2nd colour, they were no much more likely to choose pink than any type of other colour. But after the age of two the girls started to like pink and, by four, guys were identified in your rejection that pink. This is the an accurate time as soon as toddlers start to become mindful of their gender, come talk around it and also even to look around them to see what defines boy and what specifies a girl. But similar to adults, even very tiny children show biases in the direction of their very own group.

This group predisposition was likewise seen another study wherein three-to-five-year-olds were given red or blue t-shirts come wear in ~ nursery. Because that one group, the red and blue t-shirts to be constantly advert to, and by the end of 3 weeks the youngsters liked everything around their very own colour group better. And also that was just three weeks. Sex becomes a key topic of discussion from early on pregnancy onwards. Once we listen the news of the bear of a brand-new baby, there’s simply one thing we want to know. Is that a young or a girl?


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You could argue the it doesn’t really issue what colour babies space exposed come the most, yet it deserve to even impact the means we, as adults, law them. There’s one famous study mirroring that ladies treated the specific same babies differently depending upon whether they to be dressed in pink or blue. If the apparel were blue castle assumed it to be a boy, played an ext physical gamings with them and encouraged them to play v a squeaky hammer, conversely, they would certainly gently reassuring the baby dressed in pink and choose a doll for them come play with.

Pink for boys?

But what about the idea the a century ago small boys to be dressed in pink and pink for girls is only a current fashion? that seems also that can be miscellaneous of a myth too. Psychology writer Christian Jarrett describes in his new book good Myths the the Brain, exactly how an Italian psychologist Marco Del Giudice, that tried to uncover the origins of this idea, might find just four quick magazine quotes, explicate pink together the colour for boys. In two of these he to trust that probably the blue and also pink were accidentally swapped around. That appears unlikely to me, yet when he searched a database of five million publications printed in American or british English from 1800-2000 an ext convincing to be the absence of any mentions of “pink because that a boy”, even though from 1890 onwards there were raising mentions that “pink for a girl”.

Even the combination of pink with femininity today can backfire if the not used in the appropriate way. Pink is regularly used for breast cancer campaigns, however researchers in ~ Erasmus college Rotterdam discovered that when women were presented adverts conquered by the colour pink, they to be in fact less likely to think they’d contract breast cancer us or come donate money to a cancer charity. The authors don’t believe this was since they hated the colour pink, but due to the fact that when they to be reminded of their gender so overtly, the adverts felt therefore personally threatening the it set off refusal mechanisms.

But over there is one means at the very least in i beg your pardon pink deserve to be advantageous for both women and men. Back in 2002 researcher in Switzerland that were keen to boost the response rate come surveys, found that to press questionnaires on coloured document made no difference, uneven the document was pink, in which instance 12% much more people filled that in.

Colours, the seems, influence our behaviour much much more than us realise.

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