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Angela M. Brown, Delwin T. Lindsey, Kevin M. Guckes; Color names, color categories, and color-cued visual search: Sometimes, color perception is not categorical. Journal of Vision 2011;11(12):2. doi: 10.1167/11.12.2.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The relation between colors and their names is a classic case study for investigating the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that categorical perception is imposed on perception by language. Here, we investigate the Sapir–Whorf prediction that visual search for a green target presented among blue distractors (or vice versa) should be faster than search for a green target presented among distractors of a different color of green (or for a blue target among different blue distractors). A. L. Gilbert, T. Regier, P. Kay, and R. B. Ivry (2006) reported that this Sapir–Whorf effect is restricted to the right visual field (RVF), because the major brain language centers are in the left cerebral hemisphere. We found no categorical effect at the Green–Blue color boundary and no categorical effect restricted to the RVF. Scaling of perceived color differences by Maximum Likelihood Difference Scaling (MLDS) also showed no categorical effect, including no effect specific to the RVF. Two models fit the data: a color difference model based on MLDS and a standard opponent-colors model of color discrimination based on the spectral sensitivities of the cones. Neither of these models nor any of our data suggested categorical perception of colors at the Green–Blue boundary, in either visual field.
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