Critique of Research towards Sex Differences in Colour Preference

16 Dec

The journal article ‘Biological components of sex differences in color preference’ by Hurlbert and Ling investigates colour preferences of males and female. It supplies evidence towards the idea that boys prefer the colour blue and girls the colour pink. It does not do any research into the reason why. The part of the title, ‘biological components’, is not relevant to the information that they studied. There is the suggestion in the article about the reason for these colour preferences being the hunter- gatherer theory, but no research was done to find the validity of this.

The hunter- gatherer theory is the idea that female’s brains are more specialized to do gathering. So they will be able to pick out bright, ripe fruit, easier than males. This could explain why they prefer pink. It suggests that males prefer blue, as this is the colour of clean water and a clear sky. All that Hurlbert and Ling discovered was in fact that female did prefer pink, and males blue. This, for me personally, is not breaking news, or amazing findings. It is just scientific proof, for a theory. One which is already assumed as true.

The title of the 2007 Sunday Times article ‘At last, science discovers why blue is for boys but girls really do prefer pink’ is not accurate to the study findings. In fact, it is not at all accurate. The study did no research what so ever on the reasons why boys prefer blue and girls pink. The Sunday Times journal suggests that there was research into the reason why boys and girls prefer different colours. This was not the case, there was merely a suggestion at the end of the research report stating that there was a theory, the hunter – gatherer theory, which could help to explain the results that they obtained.

The media report explains the hunter- gatherer theory as if it was new information. It suggests the idea that it is a new scientific breakthrough. When in fact the hunter- gatherer theory is not what Hurlbert and Ling’s research was about at all. This shows how the media exaggerates information to make it more appealing and interesting for the public to read. Both the headlines imply that the reason why boys prefer blue and girls prefer pink was discovered. This is not warranted at all.



Henderson, M. (August 21, 2007). At last, science discovers why blue is for boys but girls really do prefer pink.

The Times. Hurlbert, A. C. &; Ling, Y. (2007). Biological components of sex differences in color preference. Current Biology, 17(16).


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