January 21, 2007

psychology of color

The Economist has just put out an article about the psychology of color perception. It basically explains that there is a debate going on in the field right now concerning the grouping of hues. Are people genetically predisposed to color categories? If so, is it the same categories for everyone? (For example: I would put the color 'navy' into the category 'blue.' But would everyone recognize navy as a shade of blue?) Can language affect one's experience of color? Essentially, one side of the argument believes that people are able to seperate the main colors and pick them out, no matter what language they speak. Others argue that the language a person was brought up with is the central explanation of how he or she groups the hues of the color spectrum. (I thought we were finished with Nature vs. Nurture debates?). As might be imagined, the answer lies somewhere in the middle and the article describes two recently published papers that help give us a clue to what is really going on.

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