December 2002
Volume 2, Issue 10
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2002
Color categories are not arbitrary
Author Affiliations
  • Paul Kay
    U.C. Berkeley, International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, USA
Journal of Vision December 2002, Vol.2, 44. doi:
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      Paul Kay; Color categories are not arbitrary. Journal of Vision 2002;2(10):44.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The hypotheses of Berlin and Kay (1969) of universal constraints on cross-language color naming have been widely accepted and frequently corroborated by later studies of individual languages. They remain controversial, however, challenged on both empirical and methdological grounds, both early and recently (Hickerson 1971, Conklin 1973, Roberson et al. 2000, Lucy 1997, Saunders and van Brakel 1997). The original universalist claims were based on the apparent clustering of naming responses in perceptual color space. The present paper presents initial results of the first objective statistical analysis of the clustering of cross language color naming responses in perceptual color space

Berlin, Brent and Paul Kay (1969) Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press.

Conklin, Harold C.(1973) Review of Basic Color Terms. Language 75, 931–942.

Roberson, D., J. Davidoff and I. Davies. 2000. Color categories are not universal: replications and new evidence from a stone-age culture. Jl. Exp. Psych.: General 129, 369–398.

Hickerson, Nancy (1971) Review of Basic Color Terms. International Journal of American Linguistics 37, 257–270.

Lucy, John A. (1997) The linguistics of color. In C.L. Hardin and L. Maffi (eds.) Color Categories in Thought and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saunders, Barbara and J. van Brakel (1997) Are there non-trivial constraints on colour categorization? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20, 167–228.

Kay, P.(2002). Color categories are not arbitrary [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 2( 10): 44, 44a,, doi:10.1167/2.10.44. [CrossRef]

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