Assumptions made by the media- Sex differences and colour preferences

The article in The Times have made some big assumptions after reading Hurlbert and Ling’s journal article titled ‘Biological components of sex differences in color preference’. From reading their journal The Times created their own idea and titled the piece, ‘At last, science discovers why blue is for boys but girls really do prefer pink’. This all sounds very interesting, but is it the truth? No, scientists have not discovered the truth at all; instead they have found evidence and have researched sex differences. In this case the media is guilty of induction in the conclusions they made and have made many times before, but they are not the only ones to have made inaccurate assumptions.

The scientific journal itself was titled with the word ‘Biological’, as you continue to read the journal it is clear to the reader that it does not suggest any biological factors for colour preference. The journal investigated colour preferences between 208 males and females between the age of 20-26 of Chinese and British origin. After asking participants about their colour preferences results showed there was a significant difference between males and females. Although both sexes shared a natural preference to the bluish colours, it seems more females than males prefer the reddish colours. It then goes on to suggest reasons for this in evolutionary terms, such as natural ‘hunter gathering’ instincts. Females collected ripe fruits and are ‘care givers’ so would also notice natural changes in skin colour due to emotional states and social sexual signals. However, when it comes to explaining why the Chinese participants (males and females) showed a greater preference for red, they gave another explanation, suggesting cultural context could play a role due to the colour red symbolising luck in China. They finish the journal by writing ‘Colour preference patterns are nonetheless systematically governed by sensory encoding, and to a significant extent, predictable.’ We could predict the colour preference  of other males and females based on these findings but the outcome will not always be the same, what if it turns out that a significant amount of males prefer pink? In the world there are males who do prefer pink; this explanation for colour preference cannot be applied to all males and females. The journals findings are accurate, they only gave possible explanations for them, not actual 100% facts about reasons for preference. The Times made their own conclusions, assuming the science behind the research meant it was true and overall got the readers attention. The newspaper headline implied that all girls and boys are the same, for start, we know this is not true. Blue and pink is for girls and boys, it depends on someone’s personal preference to which they prefer, some girls don’t even like pink at all and this would contradict the findings. The scientific journal did not imply it had found the reason to why girls prefer pink; all they found was a significant amount who did. It only suggested explanations, so no, scientists have not found why blue is for boys and pink is for girls.


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