STUDY OF COLOR PREFERENCES AND DRAWING IN TERMS OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO CREATIVITY AND CONFORMITY IN CHILDREN
Rodney Chang, 1974
University of Southern California
NOTE- only the introduction and results are copied here from the orignal masters thesis
Primitive man possessed an innate subjective ability to experience pleasure, discomfort, or apathy from a visual stimulus or object. This ability, the author believes, is present in its virgin state before conceptual learning is initiated. Vestiges of this ability are still evident in the modern adult. We have all, when looking at art, heard or used the statement of "I know what I like." Yet we are taught what "good art" is or should be and what we should appreciate. It seems that there should be more of an emphasis on what the criteria of good art have been for different individuals in different societies at different times.
Most lay audiences do not realize that their aesthetical value systems have been manipulated in order to be in agreement with accepted attitudinal values and social consensus, thus reducing potential conflict or redicule by the group. This adapted degradation of personal aesthetics begins as far back as primary school.
It is a common assumption by parents and teachers that children do naturalistic drawing to objectify their external world. Art education authority Herbert Read concludes that "The graphic activity of the child may be devoid, not merely of any representational intention, but equally of any imitative instinct." He points out that there were periods in history when nonfigurative art prevailed, such as the Neolithic Age, Celtic and Arabiccivilizations. He believes that the child's abstract or symbolic images change because a naturalistic attitude is imposed upon him. As a result, children learn to value and pursue naturalistic representation in drawing and coloring because of social pressure and cultural taste. Consequently, drawing and color manipulation that in early childhood start off as free, spontaneous expression eventually metamorphose into less vivid (but more technically proficient) imitations of reality.
The author theorizes with many others that children turn out the art work they do because that is what they are taught to do and value. Montessori writes that drawing cannot and should not remain a spontaneous free expression. (to be continued)
(The research was limited to the three elementary schools located in Seoul, South Korea- The International School of the Sacred Heart (parochial, private), Kum Puk Elementary School (Korean, public), and Seoul American Elementary School (U.S. militray dependants)
In regards to the Western (U.S., other United Nations children) sampling-
1. Red and Blue are Western elementary school students' favorite colors.
2. Boys learn to favor Blue exclusively by the fifth grade.
3. Girls show no preference of color except for the bright primary colors, Red and Blue.
4. Boys avoid Pink; girls treat it with a special association of sexual identity.
5. The color choice free of social pressures is not related to Torrance's developmental curve of creativity.
6. Color preferences under conformity pressures are related to Torrance's developmental curve of creativity.
7. Yellow and Violet are the least preferred primary and secondary colors, respectively.
8. Creative use of color and drawing in primary school are related to the "fourth grade slump" in creativity that was identified by Torrence. Both males and females conform by the fourth grade to coloring and drawing a rabbit form naturalistically.
9. First graders draw objects as living things with human qualities attributed; fourth graders are the first group to recognize the paper as the background material for graphic representational imitation and graphic composition.
10. There is a tendency toward renewed freedom in color usage in drawing in the sixth grade. Whether this is the results of gains in creativity, less practice time devoted to improving drawing skills due to competing interests, or resultant effect of having discovered that art should be considered "work" is unknown.
11. Boys relate color preferences to sex identity, girls do not in this study.
12. Conformity plays a role in reducing the growth of graphic art creativity among young children.
In regards to the Korean sampling-
1. Red and Blue are also Korean elementary school students' dominant favorite colors.
2. Yellow, however, unlike that found for Western and American children, forms a triad of dominant favorite colors for Korean children out of the 8 choices from a box of crayons.
3. There is no sex preference for Red, Blue, or Green.
4. Korean girls, like their counterparts in other cultures surveyed, prefer Pink more than their male peers.
5. Creative use of color and drawing in Korean primary schools is related to the "fourth grade slump" in creativity. Both sexes conform by the fourth grade to coloring and drawing a rabbit naturalistically. The graphic data curves indicated that the percentages of creative color usage for the Western and Korean children are strikingly alike.
6. Both group results support the hypothesis that such graphic curves could be predicted by Torrance's developmental curve for creativity and conformity.
7. There is, among Korean children, also a renewed freedom in color usage in drawing in the sixth grade. However, although some American six grade males drew their rabbits standing up anthropomorphically, all Korean students' drawn rabbits remained down on all four limbs as they are postured in nature.
8. Conformity also plays a role in reducing the growth of graphic art cretivity among young Korean children.