Color preferences and racial attitudes in young children
Kohl, Rhiana B.
MetadataShow full item record
This study examined preschool children's preferences for colors and the possible connection of the preference to racial attitudes. In the assessment of color preferences, the three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, plus, black, white, and a continuum of skin tone shades were represented in a series of forms: circles, triangles, and squares. These were presented to the children who were asked to select the one they liked best and the one they disliked most.;Racial attitudes were evaluated by depicting human figure drawings in the same skin tone colors presented in the color preference task. The measure used was a version of the Preschool Racial Attitude Measurement II (PRAM II) (Williams & Morland, 1976). The PRAM II consists of 12 positive and 12 negative adjectives presented in short story form; subjects were asked to choose which one of the figures presented--identical except for color, was associated with the positive and negative adjectives. Prior studies of young children have found a pro-white/anti-black bias for both the colors black and white and Black and White people.;In contrast to earlier works, this study has two major unique components. First, this study examined children's color preferences In the abstract and the same children's racial attitudes simultaneously. Second, more colors were included, especially a broader range of skin tone shades, then in previous research where the colors black and white were usually the only "colors" considered or a very limited range of skin tones.;However, In terms of colors, children preferred the brighter colors overall, but not necessarily the lighter colors over the darker ones. In terms of racial attitudes, consistent with prior research, White figures were significantly more likely to be associated with positive adjectives by children of both races. White figures were significantly less likely to be associated with negative adjectives hy White subjects. Black subjects chose the Black figure for the negative adjectives more often--but not significantly so. There did not seem to be a direct relationship between evaluations of skin tone colors and racial evaluations. We cannot conclude that the association of negative adjectives with Black figures and positive adjectives with White figures is a function of the positive evaluation of the color White and the negative evaluation of the color Black.