The popular notion of girls liking pink while boys liking blue really does seem to be true after all, for a new study has found that girls really do prefer the colour – or at least a redder shade of blue.
The study was a simple test carried out by researchers at Newcastle University, UK.
As a part of their study, the researchers asked 171 young adult men and women taking part in the British Caucasian study to select, as rapidly as possible, their preferred colour from each of a series of paired, coloured rectangles.
They found that the universal favourite colour for all people appears to be blue, though women tend to lean a bit towards the pink side.
"Females have a preference for the red end of the red-green axis, and this shifts their color preference slightly away from blue towards red, which tends to make pinks and lilacs the most preferred colours in comparison with others," said researcher Anya Hurlbert.
To begin to address whether sex differences in colour preference depend more on biology or culture, the researchers tested a small group of Chinese people amongst the other 171 British Caucasian study participants.
The results among the Chinese were similar, strengthening the idea that the sex differences might be biological. The explanation might go back to humans' hunter-gatherer days, when women—the primary gatherers--would have benefited from an ability to key in on ripe, red fruits.
"Although we expected to find sex differences, we were surprised at how robust they were, given the simplicity of our test," said Hurlbert.
"Evolution may have driven females to prefer reddish colors--reddish fruits, healthy, reddish faces. Culture may exploit and compound this natural female preference," she added.
Hurlbert said another way to separate "nature versus nurture" when it comes to favourite colours will be to test the preferences of infants. The researchers have plans to modify the colour-choice test for use in young babies and hope to have some answers on that front soon.
The study is published in the August 21st issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.