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Title: A systematic investigation of biological and cognitive theories of colour preference
Author: Taylor, Chloe Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 1912
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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Decades of research has established that individuals and groups have reliable preferences for some colours over others. The aim of this thesis is to understand the biological and cognitive mechanisms of these colour preferences. Two recent theories of colour preference are tested, the biological components theory (Hurlbert and Ling, 2007) and the ecological valence theory (EVT; Palmer & Schloss, 2010). The former argues that colour preference is explained by weights on the two cone-opponent channels underlying human colour vision, whereas the latter argues that colour preference is explained by colour-object associations. A series of experiments test these theories by testing different cultures, sexes and ages, and by sampling stimuli throughout colour space. The findings identify serious constraints for both theories. The biological component theory only works well when summarising hue preference, not when colours vary in lightness and saturation. EVT is effective at explaining the colour preference of males, but not females. For both theories, previous claims of 'universal' patterns of preference across cultures are not supported. The thesis also investigates whether 'mere exposure' (brief, repeated exposure to stimuli) influences colour preference, as it does for other basic stimuli. A series of experiments indicate that mere exposure influences colour preference for males but not females. This suggests that, at least for some groups, there could be basic cognitive processes that affect colour preference that are domain general. Overall, it is concluded there are multiple routes to colour preference, and that further research should consider how the various underlying mechanisms of colour preference combine and interact for different types of observers. This thesis and the work to which it refers are the results of my own efforts. Any ideas, data, images or text resulting from the work of others (whether published or unpublished) are fully identified as such within the work and attributed to their originator in the text, bibliography or in footnotes. This thesis has not been submitted in whole or in part for any other academic degree or professional qualification. I agree that the University has the right to submit my' work to the plagiarism detection service Turnitin UK for originality checks. Whether or not drafts have been so-assessed, the University reserves the right to require an electronic version of the final document (as submitted) for assessment as above.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available