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Proceedings Paper

Color categories are diverse in thought as well as language: evidence from New Guinea and Africa
Author(s): Debi D. Roberson
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Paper Abstract

Following recent findings of cultural and linguistic relativity in other fields of categorization (e.g. shape, number, space) we report a series of cross-cultural studies of color categorization in adults and young children that address the particular question of whether and to what extent color categories are learned, and free to vary, or innate and universal. Adult speakers of different languages were found to show different patterns of discrimination and memory for the same set of colors and their cognitive representations of color categories appeared to be isomorphic with their linguistic categories. Longitudinal studies of two groups of children in Africa (children from the semi-nomadic Himba tribe in Namibia) and the UK examined the extended process of both lexical and non-lexical color category acquisition. Gradual category acquisition was observed in both groups, rather than all-or-nothing performance and even with intensive adult input (for the English children) color category acquisition appeared to be universally slow and effortful.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 December 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5293, Color Imaging IX: Processing, Hardcopy, and Applications, (18 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.538842
Show Author Affiliations
Debi D. Roberson, Univ. of Essex (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5293:
Color Imaging IX: Processing, Hardcopy, and Applications
Reiner Eschbach; Gabriel G. Marcu, Editor(s)

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