ERIC Number: EJ778933
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Does Maintenance of Colour Categories Rely on Language? Evidence to the Contrary from a Case of Semantic Dementia
Haslam, C.; Wills, A. J.; Haslam, S. A.; Kay, J.; Baron, R.; McNab, F.
Brain and Language, v103 n3 p251-263 Dec 2007
Recent neuropsychological evidence, supporting a strong version of Whorfian principles of linguistic relativity, has reinvigorated debate about the role of language in colour categorisation. This paper questions the methodology used in this research and uses a novel approach to examine the unique contribution of language to categorisation behaviour. Results of three investigations are reported. The first required development of objective measures of category coherence and consistency to clarify questions about healthy control performance on the freesorting colour categorisation task used in previous studies. Between-participant consistency was found to be only moderate and the number of colour categories generated was found to vary markedly between individuals. The second study involved longitudinal neuropsychological examination of a patient whose colour categorisation strategy was monitored in the context of a progressive decline in language due to semantic dementia. Performance on measures of category coherence and consistency was found to be relatively stable over time despite a profound decline in the patient's colour language. In a final investigation we demonstrated that, for both the patient and controls, between- and within-participant consistency were higher than expected by (a) random sorting and (b) sorting perceptually similar chips together. These findings indicate that the maintenance of colour categorisation need not depend on language.
Descriptors: Color, Longitudinal Studies, Maintenance, Semantics, Dementia, Language Role, Children, Semiotics, Research Methodology, Classification, Task Analysis, Measures (Individuals), Control Groups, Neurology, Psychology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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