anhinga_anhinga (anhinga_anhinga) wrote,
anhinga_anhinga
anhinga_anhinga

Words help deterimine what we see, but asymmetrically

"The paper suggests that language affects perception in the right half of the visual field, but much less, if at all, in the left half."

quoting from http://cognews.com/1139328519:

The paper suggests that language affects perception in the right half of the visual field, but much less, if at all, in the left half.

...

Many of the distinctions made in English do not appear in other languages, and vice versa. For instance, English uses two different words for the colors blue and green, while many other languages – such as Tarahumara, an indigenous language of Mexico – instead use a single color term that covers shades of both blue and green. An earlier study by Paul Kay and colleagues had shown that speakers of English and Tarahumara perceive colors differently: English speakers found blues and greens to be more distinct from each other than speakers of Tarahumara did, as if the English "green" / "blue" linguistic distinction sharpened the perceptual difference between the colors themselves. The present study essentially repeated the English part of that earlier test, but also made sure that colors were presented to either the right or the left half of the visual field – something the earlier study hadn't done – so as to test whether language influences the right half of our visual world more than the left half, as predicted by brain organization.

In each experimental trial of the present study, participants saw a ring of colored squares. All the squares were of exactly the same color, except for an "odd-man-out" of a different color. The odd-man-out appeared in either the right or the left half of the circle, and participants were asked to indicate which side of the circle the odd-man-out was on, by making a keyboard response. Critically, the color of this odd-man-out had either the same name as the other squares (e.g. a shade of "green", while the others were all a different shade of "green"), or a different name (e.g. a shade of "blue", while the others were all a shade of "green"). The researchers found that participants responded more quickly when the color of the odd-man-out had a different name than the color of the other squares – as if the linguistic difference had heightened the perceptual difference – but this only occurred if the odd-man-out was in the right half of the visual field, and not when it was in the left half. This was the predicted pattern.


The paper itself: "Whorf Hypothesis is Supported in the Right Visual Field but not the Left," by Aubrey Gilbert, Terry Regier, Paul Kay, and Richard Ivry:

http://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/~kay/LeftBrainWhorf.pdf

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all this assuming there are no methodological errors in this study...

via dmierkin
Tags: linguistics, neuroscience
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