Marilyn Read, an associate professor of design and human environment at Oregon State University, agrees that children’s self-declared favorite hues are socially constructed. Yet she believes that their attraction to color in general goes far deeper than societal pressures and expectations. In fact, the presence of color may be necessary for their mental health. In a recent study in which Read measured the impact of color in preschool buildings, she found that in spaces with one red wall—versus those with uniformly white ones—children are more cooperative.
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