Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Explaining universal colour categories

From:Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...>
Date:Thursday, January 12, 2006, 1:29
On Tue, 10 Jan 2006, Herman Miller wrote:
> > Yahya Abdal-Aziz wrote: > > Hi all, > > > > This link: > > > > > > > > is relevant to our discussion on conlang colours a while ago. > > "This item requires a subscription to Adaptive Behavior Online." > > Could you give a summary?
Alas, Herman; would that I could! But sadly I'm not yet rich enough to subscribe to every journal that captures my interest ... :-( Here is the essence of the abstract: "Explaining Universal Color Categories Through a Constrained Acquisition Process Tony Belpaeme University of Plymouth, UK Joris Bleys Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Vrije Universiteit Brussel Color categories enjoy a special status among human perceptual categories as they exhibit a remarkable cross-cultural similarity. Many scholars have explained this universal character as being the result of an innate representation or an innate developmental program which all humans share. We will critically assess the available evidence, which is at best controversial, and we will suggest an alternative account for the universality of color categories based on linguistic transmission constrained by universal biases. We introduce a computational model to test our hypothesis and present results. These show that indeed the cultural acquisition of color categories together with mild constraints on the perception and categorical representation result in categories that have a distribution similar to human color categories." So they're saying that the "universal colour categories" [YA - which not everyone actually agrees _are_ universal] need not be assumed to be innate in humans, but can be explained equally well by cultural transmission through language "together with mild constraints on the perception and categorical representation" or "universal biases". What those constraints or biases are, I don't know. To see whether this reduction has better explanatory power than the simple assumption that the categories are innate, we'd need to know that. Perhaps some list member has access to the journal, either as a subscriber or thru the Athens service ? Regards, Yahya -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. Version: 7.1.371 / Virus Database: 267.14.17/226 - Release Date: 10/1/06