Biological components of colour preference in infancy


Anna Franklin, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH, UK; e-mail:


Adult colour preference has been summarized quantitatively in terms of weights on the two fundamental neural processes that underlie early colour encoding: the S−(L+M) (‘blue–yellow’) and L−M (‘red–green’) cone-opponent contrast channels (Ling, Hurlbert & Robinson, 2006; Hurlbert & Ling, 2007). Here, we investigate whether colour preference in 4–5-month-olds may be analysed in the same way. We recorded infants’ eye-movements in response to pairwise presentations of eight colour stimuli varying only in hue. Infants looked longest at reddish and shortest at greenish hues. Analyses revealed that the L−M and S−(L+M) contrast between stimulus colour and background explained around half of the variation in infant preference across the hue spectrum. Unlike adult colour preference patterns, there was no evidence for sex differences in the weights on either of the cone-opponent contrast components. The findings provide a quantitative model of infant colour preference that summarizes variation in infant preference across hues.