Guilford, J. P. & Smith, P. C. (1959). A system of color preferences. American Journal of Psychology, 72(4), 487-502.
This report pertains to a systematic and relatively exhaustive study of the affective values of 316 different color specimens, each of which had been calibrated in terms of color-specifications of the Munsell Book of Color. The color-stimuli were in the form of 2-inc. squares of paper on a neutral gray background. Each was rated by 20 men and 20 women students on two different occasions. Smoothed graphic adjustments of the data were made to curvilinear functional relationships, from which isohedonic charts were constructed showing the loci of equal preference-values applying to all colors in the color-solid.
Considerable consistency in ratings of affective values of colors was found from day to day for the same Os, from one set of Os to another withing the same sex, and even between Os of different sex. Men rated colors generally a little higher than did women. Agreement as to relative affective values was better for colors of certain hues than for others, both within and between sexes. Preferences were highest in the region of green to blue and lowest in the region of yellow and yellow-green, when brightness and saturation are held constant. With few exceptions, affective value is positively related to brightness and to saturation, all relationships being curvilinear. Predictions of affective values from the specified hue, brightness, and saturation of colors were generally excellent within the sample of Os who rated the colors. Predictions of a more general scope will depend upon information concerning other populations, other variables of color-stimuli, other viewing-conditions, and particular used of colors. Considerable gain in accuracy of prediction should be possible from further basic research of the kind reported here.