Unconscious effects of language-specific terminology on preattentive color perception

Thierry, Guillaume and Athanasopoulos, Panos and Wiggett, Alison and Dering, Benjamin and Kuipers, Jan-Rouke (2009) Unconscious effects of language-specific terminology on preattentive color perception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (11). pp. 4567-4570. ISSN 0027-8424

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Abstract

It is now established that native language affects one's perception of the world. However, it is unknown whether this effect is merely driven by conscious, language-based evaluation of the environment or whether it reflects fundamental differences in perceptual processing between individuals speaking different languages. Using brain potentials, we demonstrate that the existence in Greek of 2 color terms—ghalazio and ble—distinguishing light and dark blue leads to greater and faster perceptual discrimination of these colors in native speakers of Greek than in native speakers of English. The visual mismatch negativity, an index of automatic and preattentive change detection, was similar for blue and green deviant stimuli during a color oddball detection task in English participants, but it was significantly larger for blue than green deviant stimuli in native speakers of Greek. These findings establish an implicit effect of language-specific terminology on human color perception.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1000
Subjects:
ID Code:
71192
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
10 Oct 2014 13:06
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
08 Jul 2020 04:21