Was the dress blue ... or was it teal, sky, turquoise, or spindrift?

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I saw the dress photo as blue & black. If you're a female, even if we perceived the exact same color, you might might not have said 'blue & black'. That's because women have a larger color vocabulary than men, and you might have elaborated on exactly which blue and which black.

blue_dress

This blog is about a fun/unscientific comparison of the color names men and women use. If you do a Google search for 'men women color names' and look at the images, you will get several matches showing various visualizations of a spectrum of colors, showing that women have a different name for each one, whereas men tend to lump them together into groups.

google_colors

I used Pixeur to determine the hex rgb code for each color in their spectrum, and entered the info into a SAS dataset, along with what men and women call it. I then used a data step to loop through each line of data, and annotate a bubble of that color, along with the text names, onto a SAS gslide. Here's a snapshot of my graph, and if you click on it you can see the full-size interactive version that let's you hover your mouse over each color to see the rgb hex code.

color_names

 

Have you found this gender difference in color naming to be true? If so, what do you think is the root cause?

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About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 25 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).

5 Comments

  1. I think it's interesting that females use a lot of food and plant descriptors for colors. What's the significance of that?

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