The Use of Color Preference in the Development of Self-Presentation and Theory of Mind in Three-Five-and Seven-Year-Olds Open Access

Burgin, Emma Clara (2015)

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As an extension of research on color perception, and discrimination, the present study tested three, five, and seven year olds on their color preferences, ascertaining if and at what age a consistent color preference emerged. More specifically, this study examined at what age children would diverge from their own strong aesthetic preferences to foster intimacy with others (i.e., social affiliation). The purpose was also to link aesthetic preferences with self-presentation and the levels of Theory of Mind. Children were tested using the Munsell Notation System color wheel. To test the extent in which children would use aesthetics to affiliate with a peer, participants were asked to choose 1) the color they would want to wear, and 2) what color of shirt they would gift to the peer of opposite taste. The results indicated that age is related to children's use of color preference for social affiliation. Furthermore, Theory of Mind was positively correlated with the extent to which children suspended their own taste to gift a t-shirt that matched a peer's taste. These results suggest that children use color and knowledge about others to better affiliate with their peers by the age of five. Overall, our study indicates that Theory of Mind, self-presentation, and aesthetic preferences develop in parallel to one another.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Color Discrimination 1

Affective Response to Color 4

Individual Differences in Color Perception 6

Self-Concept 8

Self-Presentation 9

Theory of Mind 11

Predictions 14

Methods 14

Participants 14

Materials 15

Procedure 15

Measures 20

Results 24

Discussion 28

Limitations and Future Directions 33

Conclusion 34

References 35

Tables 38

Table 1: Procedure Task Order and Description 38

Table 2: Percentage of Correct Color Discrimination Averages per Age Group 39

Figures 40

Figure 1: Color Preference Consistency by Age 40

Figure 2: Average Exact Flexibility of Chosen T-shirt 41

Figure 3: Average Quadrant Flexibility of Chosen T-shirt 42

Figure 4: Average Exact Flexibility of Chosen Gift 43

Figure 5: Average Quadrant Flexibility of Chosen Gift 44

Figure 6: Percentage of Exact Flexibility and Inflexibility of the Chosen Gift and Highest Level of Theory of Mind Passed 46

Figure 7: Percentage of Quadrant Flexibility and Inflexibility of the Chosen Gift Color and Highest Level of Theory of Mind Passed 46

Figure 8: Highest Level of Theory of Mind Passed in Relation to Age 47

Appendix A: Color Wheel Schematic 48

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