Do color preferences change during the seasons?

When the weather is changing with the seasons so is the color palettes that go along with them. Summer reminds me of hot pinks, yellows and many other bright colors. When fall is in session I think of thanksgiving colors dark green, browns as well as oranges they match with the changing of the leaves around me as well. Winter is my favorite season of all when I think of colors is more darks and neutrals that really stand out to be. Lastly spring colors are like Easter eggs to me light colors as in pink, blues, greens.  

I know that my clothing changes with the seasons due to the different temperatures but as well as the colors I choose. Is this due to just my own personal preferences or is there a real reason behind it. Do you think there is a connection between what we are seeing in our surroundings and what we prefer? I do believe the what surrounds you dose effect the prefers you have in life.

There was a study done by Karen Schloss in the journal of Cognitive Science trying to find out is there is a connection. The study was conducted with 50 participants who lived in the same area for roughly seven years. There were a few conditions that needed to be assessed before being able to be a participant. Every person needed to have their eyes checked to make sure there was no color blindness in any of the volunteers. After this study was complete only 39 of the 50 completed the full year long evaluation.

The study was conducted over a year long period. Of the 50 participants who choice to continue through the year long process that were shown the same picture of color box which include 37 color blocks and asked to access what colors they liked best. Fall was considered October thought November, winter was January though March. Spring April through May and lastly June through August. To see what colors, they like best they had to rate each color as very much or not at all. Below is an example of what the participants were looking at and rating their colors preference.

When the study was complete they found a connection between what colors people like during a certain season. It suggested that the colors we like do change as the seasons change. They found that people tend to like some colors more during certain season because it reminds us of items we are seeing in that season. While those same colors during a different season we might not like because it reminds us on something gross. An example of this was giving that during fall people tend to like dark green- yellow because it reminds us of fall leaves, but these same colors were disliked in winter because it reminds people of vomit.

Below is an image to the average color preferences during each season. The black line is representing fall, blue is winter, green is spring and yellow is fall. The tones of the color are in four categories as well. As you can tell from the pictures the color preferences change with each season.



I know that I always have the same favorite color but when the seasons change I tend to change the colors I ware. I didn’t know that this could really be some cognitive relationships rather than just a consequent. Below is the link to the npr article I read.


2 thoughts on “Do color preferences change during the seasons?

  1. kmarston

    It’s always fascinating to analyze human behaviors even for something seemingly as trivial as color palette changes with different seasons for clothing. I am curious as to how much of a sociological impact color scheme has in comparison to biological preferences. For example, women in particular observe clothing trends through high end magazines and continue these trends for various reasons. If a trend-setter were to wear yellow during the winter months how many people would follow this example and ignore the “vomit” element? How much do preferences rely on environmental changes and how much do they depend on the ever arching influence of societal standards? I think it would be interesting to further observe this study to separate the differences down to its elements.

  2. linnis

    This was definitely an interesting article. Thank you for sharing it. You explained the information well and I appreciated the use of the graphics to illustrate the data. I personally have always felt that the color palette of my clothing choices tends to stay consistent year round especially taking into account things like my favorite color, but perhaps I just assumed that fact. I didn’t look at my clothing choices as data points. I do wish this study had included a larger sample size and accounted for the fact that clothing companies tend to only produce clothes in similar colors at specific times of year. For example, when you walk into a clothing store around spring time the colors tend to be more pastel and brighter than a store’s selection in the fall. I found it extremely fascinating that people have extreme reactions to colors in clothing such as disgust. This seems far fetched to me, but I’m assuming the researcher had reasoning behind it.
    Additionally, this post made me think of art and color theory. Similar to clothing, do paintings with certain color palettes sell better at certain seasons? Or in a craft store do certain colors of paint sell more frequently depending on the time of year? Or do some colors of cars sell better in certain environments or times of year? I wonder how this research can be applied to other areas of consumerism, not just the color of our clothes. I assume aspects of psychology like this are all things that are considered when trying to market a product. Overall, an interesting article that emphasizes how every decision we make is influenced by stimuli or our experiences.

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