We present results from three research projects that illuminate individual differences (IDs) in perceptual preferences. First, we demonstrate that IDs in single-color preferences can be partly explained by ecological preferences for color-associated objects and institutions (e.g.,
people who like spinach tend to like darkgreen more than those who dislike spinach, and people who like Berkeley tend to like Berkeley-blue and Berkeley-gold more than people who dislike Berkeley). Second, we show that IDs in preferences for pairs of colors also depend on an individual’s
degree of preference-for-harmony (PH) in the relation between the two colors, where colors of similar hue are more harmonious (e.g., people with high PH tend to like beige-on-brown more than orange-on-purple, whereas those with low PH tend to like orange-on-purple more than beige-on-brown).
Finally, we show that PH is an ID that generalizes across visual and auditory domains (e.g., people who like beige-on-brown tend to prefer Mozart to Stravinsky, and those who like orange-on-purple tend to prefer Stravinsky to Mozart) and also depends on amount of training/expertise in the
relevant domain. We discuss these findings in terms of stable IDs in the degree to which people like stimuli that “fit well” together.