Over two different tests, researchers gave stainless steel, glossy white, and dull-colored plates to infants and toddlers, who are too young to know that platinum jewelry and rose gold Fabergé eggs
denote wealth. The small test subjects most often put their mouths on the stainless steel plates; they favored the glossy white second. “Together, the results of these experiments suggest that infants and toddlers have the precocious ability to recognize the optical cues for water as characterized by the gleaming highlights and clear reflections of polished metal,” the study concluded.
In a second study published in 2014, scholars at the University of Houston and Ghent University studied both adults and children, testing their preferences between glossy and matte photos, as well as their association between glossiness and moisture (the final test involved a group that saw the glossy photos as more attractive as they became thirstier).
Both studies demonstrated a simple idea: The more shiny an object or surface, the likelier we are to want it. Whether Pantone’s team knew of these studies when they conceptualized the Metallic Shimmer line is unclear, but they are certainly offering plenty of new colors to lust over—200 altogether that go beyond traditional alloy finishes and delve into the full spectrum of color, such as “Purple Sequin” and “Magnetic Blue.” Looking through their images of the swatches, placed alongside home goods and fashion accessories, you can visualize these colors in your life. Just make sure you don’t listen to your evolutionary instinct and stick the Pantone Color Guide in your mouth.