Wednesday, 14 August 2013


If you know me, you probably know that my favourite colour is green. It's always been this way. My mother told me that when I was little, and my sister wouldn't let me ride her tricycle with the green pedals, I threw a strop and chased after her. I think there is photographic evidence to back this up. I can also tell you that it works with packaging: I once bought toothpaste because it had green packaging, even though I really needed the type in blue packaging. And this is far from the only example.
But, while I am well aware of my predilection, what I am unsure of is, why it should be this way. I can't really think of what advantage is conferred upon an animal by its having a favourite colour. Speculation might suggest that it has advantages in the types of foods an animal tends to eat, or the places it tends to feel comfortable, but if this were true of humans, wouldn't we all have similar favourite colours? There are those of us who favour blue or red over green, but I can't think that favouring blueberries or cherries over cucumber confers much of an advantage. Or, likewise, how would feeling comfortable near the sea or near lava be better than a preference for the forest? For these reasons I assume that favourite colours are some happy by-product of our sight as it has come to be, and also of our psychology. If any evolutionary or neurobiologists out there have further information on this subject, I'd be interested to hear it.
Another speculation I have had in this regard is that one's favourite colour is somehow a reflection of one's personality. I have found that my friends who prefer the colour red are much more action-oriented, active, and social. Greens tend to have a more laid-back, less outgoing nature. A friend of mine told me that the music store he worked in had red-painted walls, because it's a more active colour, which makes people more likely to buy things. Greens are often seen in places where a calmer attitude is desired, like hospital wards. Of course, these are generalisations, and I don't think there is any way to categorise someone completely by use of their favourite colour (but I wouldn't be surprised if unscrupulous astrologers had incorporated aspects of it into their 'readings'), but, nonetheless, it does offer an interesting line of thought.
Now, the fact that a favourite colour may happen to be a happy accident makes it no less enjoyable, and I feel that the way I have embraced my love for things green does me no disservice (though it may be to the detriment of my dental health). I fully intend to continue the green life for time to come. However, this does mean I may have to force myself to avoid voting for the Green party, buying a hybrid, or taking up gardening.

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