Random thought time.

Why do people have favorite colors? It may be like having a favorite food, which I assume is basically chemical in food > taste buds > signal to brain > release of happy chemicals (very scientific discorse following my last posts). I guess a favorite color would go more like certain light waves > particular stiumlation > signal to brain > release of happy chemicals.

But is that really how it works? With food, I will pick my favorite over others, and I will go “mmmmm” when a delicious piece of cheesecake is in my mouth. But my favorite color is blue, and the sight of blue doesn’t necessarily make me elated. I don’t jump for joy when I see a blue car over a red car. My closet isn’t just full of blue clothes – if I got a wonderful psychological reaction of of blue, you would expect it would be. But at the same time if you asked me my favorite color, I was not hesitate to say blue.

My guess is that having a favorite color is a cultural meme. We’re asked at an early age what our favorite color is, and we’re expected to have a quick answer. I wonder if younger children have to think longer about their choice than older children, or if younger children change their mind more and then their favorite color becomes permanent. I’m not sure how that initial color is picked – maybe it’s the color of their room, their blanket, their favorite toy – or maybe it’s completely arbitrary and then they stick with it. And from that point on, it starts reinforcing itself. I know blue is my favorite color because I said it was my favorite color. I like blue more because people start buying me blue things that I like (my mom basically bought me nothing but blue clothes when I was little). After a while I can’t come up with a logical reason why I like the color blue – I just do. It seems instinctive. Yet I have a hard time believing my preference for blue has a genetic basis – but who knows, weirder things have been found.

Keep in mind this is arm chair speculation – it could be complete BS. But what do you think? Any hypotheses? Any sources I should have tried to find?

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