Prism of Language
Posted: 19 April 2013 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Babies See Pure Color, but Adults Peer Through Prism of Language

I found this article interesting, if unsatisfying.

I’ve been interested in the perception of color for many years and I doubt that any researcher in that field would agree that color perception is ever “unfiltered.” Research done at Kodak in the 70s showed that color perception is a decision process based on the relative brightness of everything in the visual field and not just a simple rendering based on wavelength. I believe that earlier research left open the door for the possibility that other parts of the brain could be participating in the color perception decision process, which ties in to the ideas in this article.

What I think is most interesting is our increasing ability to use direct measurement of the brain to answer these sorts of questions. It’s one thing to believe that ”language influences certain kinds of cognitive processes in non-trivial ways” and quite another to be able to measure that in a meaningful way (or not, as the case may be). One can’t help but imagine that great things are just around the corner.

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Posted: 20 April 2013 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Wired article -

“We don’t know,” said study co-author Paul Kay.

Kudos to the reporter for including this quote.

I don’t know how this might apply here, but I have had indications that my dividing line between blue and green is not the same as that of others.  I once was accused of being color-blind because I commented that I would say that a certain traffic light was blue if it weren’t a traffic light.  I have also had several occasions where someone (usually a female) has described some fabric as being green when it was clearly (to me) blue.  I can’t count the number of times my wife has asked me to fetch her a (pick a color) garment and I am either totally baffled trying to find something that color or the garment I fetch is not the color she had in mind.

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Posted: 20 April 2013 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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In my work teaching the technology of papermaking to paper mill personnel, colour was by far the most difficult subject to teach. I found that many of the people I taught had never realized that colour is not a property of matter, but a subjective physiological reaction to an external physical stimulus; so that every individual’s reaction to a given stimulus, and their interpretation of it, is different from everybody else’s. Faldage’s calling the radiation emitted by a traffic signal “blue” rather than “green” makes perfectly good sense to me.  ---- Colour perception of individuals can be altered by training. It’s been known for centuries that people who work in fields where colour perception is important (textiles, for instance) can acquire the ability to distinguish slight differences in shade, to a degree much greater than an ordinary untrained person.

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Posted: 20 April 2013 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Colour perception of individuals can be altered by training.

I agree. I just got back from a painting convention (oil painting, watercolor etc) and one of the tricks is to identify colors on the palette with colors in nature. The second step of that is to translate the colors seen in, say, a landscape into the language of the paint manufacturers (French Ultra-Marine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light and etc). To make that step even more confusing, each manufacturer’s Cadmium Yellow is slightly different. Step three is to indentify hue, saturation and value.

In printing there is the PMS (Pantone Matching System) color scale with their color swatch books.

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Posted: 20 April 2013 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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colour is not a property of matter, but a subjective physiological reaction to an external physical stimulus

Thanks be that someone has finally answered that old tree falling in the forest question.

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