Only half right: comment on Regier and Kay

Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Impact Factor: 21.15). 11/2009; 13(12):500-1; author reply 501. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.10.004
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have shown better discrimination of two stimuli that cross a category boundary than of two stimuli belonging to the same category. This finding, known as categorical perception, is generally assumed to reflect consistently good performance on cross-category trials, relative to within-category trials. However, Roberson, D., Damjanovic, L., and Pilling, M. (Memory & Cognition, 35, 1814-1829, 2007) revealed that performance on within-category pairs of morphed facial expressions matched performance on cross-category trials when the target was a good exemplar of its category. Here, we investigate the generality of that finding by conducting new analyses of data from a series of studies of categorical perception in facial identity and color domains with speakers of different languages. Consistent with Roberson et al. (2007), the new analyses demonstrate that performance for central targets on within-category trials is as good as performance on cross-category trials. Participants perform badly on within-category items only when the target is closer to the category boundary than is the distractor. These results provide no support for the view that categorical perception is associated with increased perceptual sensitivity at category boundaries.
    Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 04/2011; 18(2):355-63. DOI:10.3758/s13423-010-0043-z · 2.99 Impact Factor
  • Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11/2009; 13(12). DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2009.10.005 · 21.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The origin of color categories is under debate. Some researchers argue that color categories are linguistically constructed, while others claim they have a pre-linguistic, and possibly even innate, basis. Although there is some evidence that 4-6-month-old infants respond categorically to color, these empirical results have been challenged in recent years. First, it has been claimed that previous demonstrations of color categories in infants may reflect color preferences instead. Second, and more seriously, other labs have reported failing to replicate the basic findings at all. In the current study we used eye-tracking to test 8-month-old infants' categorical perception of a previously attested color boundary (green-blue) and an additional color boundary (blue-purple). Our results show that infants are faster and more accurate at fixating targets when they come from a different color category than when from the same category (even though the chromatic separation sizes were equated). This is the case for both blue-green and blue-purple. Our findings provide independent evidence for the existence of color categories in pre-linguistic infants, and suggest that categorical perception of color can occur without color language.
    Developmental Science 01/2013; 16(1):111-5. DOI:10.1111/desc.12008 · 3.89 Impact Factor

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