Color Preference in the Insane

November 29, 2011 by Alice Shirrell Kaswell @ Neatorama

The year 1931 stands out in the history of research about insane people’s favorite colors. That summer, Siegfried E. Katz of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Hospital published a study called “Color Preference in the Insane.”

Assisted by a Dr. Cheney, Dr. Katz tested 134 hospitalized mental patients. For simplicity’s sake, he limited the testing to six colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. No black. No white. No shades of gray.

“These colors,” he wrote, “rectangular in shape, one and one-half inches square, cut from Bradley colored papers were pasted in two rows on a gray cardboard. They were three inches apart. The colors were numbered haphazardly and the number of each color placed above it. The cardboard was presented to the patient and he was asked to place his finger on the number of the color he liked best. After he had made the choice he was asked in a similar manner for the next best color, and so on.” […]

Color Preference in the Insane Reconsidered

Dr. Katz’s findings were put to the test, partially, decades later in the study:

“The Relationship Between Color Preference and Psychiatric Disorders,” Cooper B. Holmes, H. Edward Fouty, Philip J. Wurtz and Bruce M. Burdick, Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 41, no. 6, November 1985, pp. 746–9.

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