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Colour perception changes with basic colour word comprehension

Forbes, Samuel H.; Plunkett, Kim

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Kim Plunkett


Recent work has investigated the origin of infant colour categories, showing pre-linguistic infants categorise colour even in the absence of colour words. These infant categories are similar but not identical to adult categories, giving rise to an important question about how infant colour perception changes with the learning of colour words. Here we present two novel paradigms in which 12- and 19-month-old participants learning English as their first language were assessed on their perception of colour, while data on their colour word comprehension were also collected. Results indicate that participants' perception of colours close to the colour category boundaries dramatically change after colour word learning. The results highlight the shift made from infant colour categories to adult-like linguistically mediated colour categories that accompanies colour word learning.


Forbes, S. H., & Plunkett, K. (2023). Colour perception changes with basic colour word comprehension. Developmental Science,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2023
Online Publication Date May 1, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 12, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 12, 2023
Journal Developmental Science
Print ISSN 1363-755X
Electronic ISSN 1467-7687
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
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Published Journal Article (659 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Authors. Developmental Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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