There are many resources on the web that discuss correlations between the personality of an individual and their preferred shapes or colors. To give just one example of each

  1. http://listening2leaders.com/shape-quiz-learn-colleagues/
  2. https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Choosing/colour-personality.htm

My questions here are:

  • The second of the two links above is from an academic source. Are there extended experimental, peer-reviewed, studies that establish the validity of such correlations?
  • From my own empirical observations I know that such correlations do indeed work though they are not not quite as clear cut as these articles make them out to be. Are there any studies that look at both color and shape preferences at the same time?

I have found that one very good use to combine shape + color preferences is to weed out deliberately misleading responses. Take the following example

  • We have the shapes - square, circle, triangle and squiggle
  • we have the colors - red, yellow, orange, green, blue, white and black

Interpolating between the ideas proposed in the two links I have quoted above a "Triangle" personality is far more likely to be a "Red", "Orange" or "Yellow" personality than say a "Blue" one. This could be used to assign a weighting to user responses in order to reduce the likelihood of invalid conclusions being drawn from deliberately misleading responses to the "my favorite shape" question.

Sounds plausible but once again I would like to know if there is any published research on the subject.

  • $\begingroup$ The associations are going to be weak even if statistically significant. We're not taking FB likes here. Even for those it takes about 150 for a decent Big-5 estimate. There just aren't enough shapes and colors... $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2018 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ I do not understand your edit, nor the purpose of it. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Apr 17, 2018 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ I have edited the edit a bit. Hopefully, its intent is bit clearer now $\endgroup$
    – DroidOS
    Apr 17, 2018 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


The question made me think instantly of the Kiki/Bouba effect. This effect is seen when people are to ascribe the name Kiki to point shapes and and Bouba to rounded shapes (Fig. 1); the overwhelming majority calls the star Kiki and the blob Bouba. One hypothesis is that Bouba is associated with the round shape because a more rounded shape is made by our mouths when Bouba is said. The mouth is more angular shaped when we say "Kiki." Additionally, "K" is a harder-sounding letter than "B." Those who use the modern Latin alphabet may also be visually swayed: the written letters "K" and "B" are sharp and rounded, respectively (Scientific American, November 2012).

Follow-up studies on this effect have revealed that people

  • Associate between femaleness and round shapes, and maleness and sharp shapes.
  • associate adjectives previously judged to be either descriptive of a figuratively 'round' or a 'sharp' personality with names containing either round-or sharp-sounding phonemes, respectively.

The authors conclude that sound symbolic associations extend to existing lexical stimuli, and that form and meaning are non-arbitrarily mapped (Pexman & Sidhu, 2014).

- Pexman & Sidhu, Canadian J Exp Psych (2014); 68(4): 253-4

Fig. 1. Kiki and Bouba - which is which? source: Wikipedia

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This does not help me with an answer to my original question but the information you give here has helped me in other ways so I am awarding you the bounty $\endgroup$
    – DroidOS
    Apr 27, 2018 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ @DroidOS I understand it didn't answer the question directly. But it's the best I could do. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 27, 2018 at 9:56

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