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Sex differences in color preferences transcend extreme differences in culture and ecology

At first glance, color preferences might seem to be the most subjective and context-dependent aspects of color cognition. Yet they are not. The present study compares color preferences of women and men from an industrialized and a remote, nonindustrialized culture. In particular, we investigated preferences in observers from Poland and from the Yali in Papua, respectively. Not surprisingly, we found that color preferences clearly differed between the two communities and also between sexes. However, despite the pronounced cultural differences, the way in which men and women differed from each other was almost the same in both cultures. At the same time, this sexual contrast was not specific to biological components of color vision. Our results reveal a pattern of sexual dimorphism that transcends extreme differences in culture and ecology. They point toward strong cross-cultural constraints beyond the biological predispositions of nature and the cultural particularities of nurture.



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