Saturday, June 04, 2005

Color perception can be universal

In the New Scientist Print Edition there is a report implying that our perception of the palette of colours is universal, according to a survey of 110 different cultures, according to a survey conducted by Paul Kay at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California. So when it comes to choosing the reddest red or the bluest blue, everyone tends to go for the same hue.
But it is not clear why this should be so. The researchers asked the participants to choose from an array of 330 colours the shades that came closest to their absolute for each hue. Most subjects chose similar colours (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0503281102). Kay suggests that the common palette emerges because of similarities in the way our brains are wired.

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