The politics of color: Preferences for Republican red versus Democratic blue
- 685 Downloads
The present study reveals that Election Day differentially affects the color preferences of US Republicans and Democrats. Voters’ preferences for Republican red and Democratic blue were assessed, along with several distractor colors, on and around the 2010 interim and 2012 presidential elections. On non-Election Days, Republicans and Democrats preferred Republican red equally, and Republicans actually preferred Democratic blue more than Democrats did. On Election Day, however, Republicans’ and Democrats’ color preferences changed to become more closely aligned with their own party’s colors. Republicans liked Republican red more than Democrats did, and no longer preferred Democratic blue more than Democrats did. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that color preferences are determined by people’s preferences for correspondingly colored objects/entities (Palmer & Schloss in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107:8877–8882, 2010). They further suggest that color preferences are calculated at a given moment, depending on which color–object associations are currently most activated or salient. Color preferences are thus far more dynamic and context-dependent than has previously been believed.
KeywordsColor preferences Visual aesthetics Political orientation Ecological valence theory (EVT)
We thank Joseph Austerweil, Bill Prinzmetal, and Melissa Ferguson for insightful discussions and Mathilde Heinemann for help with preliminary analyses. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant Nos. BCS-1059088 and BCS-0745820).
- Bensen, C. (2004). Red state blues: Did I miss that memo? (Technical Report). Lake Ridge, VA: POLIDATA Political Data Analysis. Retrieved from www.polidata.org/elections/red_states_blues_de27a.pdf
- Elliot, A., & Maier, M. A. (2012). Color-in-context theory. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 63–125.Google Scholar
- Enda, J. (2012, Nov 1). When Republicans were blue and Democrats were red. Retrieved from Smithsonian.com.Google Scholar
- Farhi, P. (2004, Nov 2). Elephants are red, donkeys are blue; color is sweet, so their states we hue. The Washington Post. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17079-2004 Nov1.html
- Germine, L., Nakayama, K., Duchaine, B. C., Chabris, C. F., Chatterjee, G., & Wilmer, J. B. (2012). Is the Web as good as the lab? Comparable performance from Web and lab in cognitive/perceptual experiments. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19, 847–857. doi: 10.3758/s13423-012-0296-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kaya, N., & Epps, H. H. (2004). Relationship between color and emotion: A study of college students. College Student Journal, 38, 396–405.Google Scholar
- Schloss, K. B., Strauss, E. D., & Palmer, S. E. (2013). Object color preferences. Color Research and Application, 38, 393–411.Google Scholar