Does a shift towards favoring yellow, and then orange, occur among the mentally disturbed? This was the finding of an admittedly questionable 1931 study on the link between aesthetic preference and insanity. (Purple must be beyond all reason.) Via 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.” The full citation is:
“Color Preference in the Insane,” Siegfried E. Katz, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 26, no. 2, July 1931, pp. 203–11.
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.”
Blue was the most popular color. Men, in the aggregate, then favored green, but the female patients were divided on green, red or violet as a second choice.
Patients who had resided in the hospital for three or more years were slightly less emphatic about blue. Dr. Katz says that these long-term guests were “those with most marked mental deterioration.” Their preference, as a group, shifted somewhat toward green and yellow. Those of longest tenure, though few in number, had a slightly elevated liking for orange.