September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Development of color communication across the life span (3 –75 years).
Author Affiliations
  • Delwin Lindsey
    Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Mansfield
    College of Optometry, Ohio State University
  • Angela Brown
    College of Optometry, Ohio State University
  • Nicholas Carr
    College of Optometry, Ohio State University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 1172. doi:10.1167/17.10.1172
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      Delwin Lindsey, Angela Brown, Nicholas Carr; Development of color communication across the life span (3 –75 years).. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1172. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1172.

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Abstract

An important aspect of color cognition is the ability of individuals to communicate effectively with others, within their language community, about the colors they see. We studied color communication efficiency in 384 visitors at the Center of Science & Industry in Columbus, OH, who were tested en scene using stimuli presented on calibrated iPad-Air computers. 6–75 year-olds provided monolexemic terms (or "don't know," DK) for 30 colored patches that optimally sampled the World Color Survey stimulus set. Then, each subject viewed all 30 colors at once and identified the color associated with each of their own 30 terms and each of the 30 terms previously provided by another subject (randomly chosen from a large database). We tested 3–5 year-olds using an abbreviated protocol. Data were analyzed using an information theoretic framework. The color naming data were used to estimate each subject's channel capacity (in bits) for color communication. Comparison of each subject's color naming and color identification data (mutual information) estimated communication efficiency (in bits). 3–4 year-olds rarely used more than the 11 English basic color terms (BCTs), and they deployed brown and gray idiosyncratically, a finding consistent with work of others. DK responses were rare beyond age 3 years, and most of the 21 common color terms in the English lexicon (Lindsey & Brown, 2014) appeared by age 6–8 years. Communication efficiency increased by almost a factor of two (0.9 bits) across the life span, with the greatest increase occurring between ages 3–20 years. Improved communication efficiency was due to: 1) increased channel capacity due to expanding color lexicon with age and 2) improvement with age in the consistency of color term deployment. Moreover, our results suggest that this improvement continues throughout the life span.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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