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Mengdan sun, Xiaoqing Gao, Xuemin Zhang; Categorical Perception of Color in Tracking Depends on Language. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):511. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.511.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Is our perception of the world shaped by the language we speak? This subject has provoked controversy over the past decades. Categorical perception (CP) of color suggests that cross-category colors are discriminated better than within-category colors, initially serving as the supporting evidence for the penetrability of language on perception. However, recent findings seem to suggest language-independent CP effects. Following our previous study that revealed CP effects in a tracking task, the current study investigated the effects are dependent on language or not. We conducted two experiments where two types of verbal interference task were implemented and assessed whether the CP effects in tracking would be disrupted. In Experiment 1, the verbal interference task was an eight-digit memorization task, while Experiment 2 replaced the digits by color words. It showed that the CP effects were not influenced by the digit memorization task (Exp.1) but reduced by the memorization of color words (Exp.2). Our results suggested that the CP effects in tracking derive from the use of color labels, supporting the role of language in dynamic visual organization. Furthermore, the ability of different verbal interference tasks differs in blocking the access to color labels.
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