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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/382

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372
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

comes much later than the perception.[1] These investigations of Garbini are very significant, and there can be little doubt that the evolution of the child's color sense repeats that of the race.

In dealing with the color perceptions of savages and children we are, of course, to some extent dealing more or less unconsciously with their color preferences. There is some interest from our present point of view in considering the conscious color preferences of young and adult civilized persons. Red, as we have seen, is the color that fascinates our attention earliest, that we see and recognize most vividly; it remains the color that attracts our attention most readily and that gives us the greatest emotional shock. It by no means necessarily follows that it is the most pleasurable color. As a matter of fact, such evidence as is available shows that very often it is not. There seems reason to think that after the first early perception of red, and early pleasure in it, yellow or orange is frequently the favorite color, the preference often lasting during several years of childhood; Preyer's child liked and discriminated yellow best, and Miss Shinn was inclined to think that it was the favorite color of her niece, who in the twenty-eighth month showed a special fondness for daffodils and for a yellow dress. Barnes found that in children the love of yellow diminishes with age. Binet's child was specially preoccupied with orange. Aars in an elaborate and frequently varied investigation into the color preferences of eight children (four of each sex), between four and seven years of age, found that with the boys the order of preference was blue and yellow (both equal), then red, lastly green; while with the girls the order was green, blue, red and yellow; in combinations of two colors it was found that combinations of blue come first, then of yellow, then green, lastly red. It was found (as J. Cohn has found among adults and cultivated people) that the deepest and most saturated color was most pleasing; and also that the love of novelty and of variety was an important factor. It will be observed that at this age green was the girls' favorite color and that least liked by the boys, whose favorite color, in combination, was blue; the number of individuals was, however, small. This was in Germany. In America, among 1,000 children, probably somewhat older on the average (though I have not details of the inquiry), Mr. Earl Barnes found, like Dr. Aars, that more boys than girls selected blue, while the girls preferred red more frequently than the boys; Barnes considers that with growing years there is a growing tendency to select red; as is well known, girls are more precocious than boys. Among 100 students at Columbia University, the order of preference was found to be blue (34 per cent), red (22.7 per cent), and then at a more considerable distance violet, yellow, green. It is noteworthy


  1. Garbini, "Evoluzione del senso cromatico nella infanzia," Archivio per l'Anthropologia, 1894. T.