JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Color preference in red-green dichromats.

Around 2% of males have red-green dichromacy, which is a genetic disorder of color vision where one type of cone photoreceptor is missing. Here we investigate the color preferences of dichromats. We aim (i) to establish whether the systematic and reliable color preferences of normal trichromatic observers (e.g., preference maximum at blue, minimum at yellow-green) are affected by dichromacy and (ii) to test theories of color preference with a dichromatic sample. Dichromat and normal trichromat observers named and rated how much they liked saturated, light, dark, and focal colors twice. Trichromats had the expected pattern of preference. Dichromats had a reliable pattern of preference that was different to trichromats, with a preference maximum rather than minimum at yellow and a much weaker preference for blue than trichromats. Color preference was more affected in observers who lacked the cone type sensitive to long wavelengths (protanopes) than in those who lacked the cone type sensitive to medium wavelengths (deuteranopes). Trichromats' preferences were summarized effectively in terms of cone-contrast between color and background, and yellow-blue cone-contrast could account for dichromats' pattern of preference, with some evidence for residual red-green activity in deuteranopes' preference. Dichromats' color naming also could account for their color preferences, with colors named more accurately and quickly being more preferred. This relationship between color naming and preference also was present for trichromat males but not females. Overall, the findings provide novel evidence on how dichromats experience color, advance the understanding of why humans like some colors more than others, and have implications for general theories of aesthetics.

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