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CULTURE: Why Blue Is the World’s Favorite Color

Olivo Barbieri Adriatic Sea (Staged) Dancing People 13, 2015 Yancey Richardson Gallery. Artworks Advisory

By the 1920s, researchers were just about ready to throw in the towel regarding that straightforward question, “What’s your favorite color?” People’s answers appeared far too idiosyncratic to study in any substantive way. But as statistical tools and color standardization improved during the decades that followed, a pattern slowly but surely began to emerge.

Everyone liked blue.

Studies as early as 1941 indicated that bluish hues were the most preferred; just this summer, the world’s favorite color was declared to be a particular shade of greenish-blue (or was it bluish-green?) based on a 30,000-person survey canvassing 100 countries. It’s a predilection that isn’t limited to a particular geography or gender or even political affiliation—as it turns out, even Republicans generally prefer blue, too.

While these studies and surveys went a long way towards describing the distribution of people’s preferences across the color wheel, another mystery remained: Why did such preferences exist in the first place? Read More

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