Empirical work

Empirical work

::Cross-modal associations between haptic and color sensations
>>AUB, Lebanon.

In collaboration with Nadiya Slobodenyuk (psychology)

::Testing the notion of ‘Cognitively meaningful color category’
>>London, UK.

In collaboration with Elley Wakui (psychology).

The idea of these experiments is that color categories could be identified using category structure as a cue. The experiments involved a free naming task, a typicality task and a visual search task on a CTR monitor. In the two last experiments, responses were timed.
Results are still being analyzed, but premilinary analysis reveals that category structure is an interesting cue. They also suggest that perceptual saliency and psychological saliency can be considered as two separate factors in categorization.

This research project was elaborated with Elly Wakui, Igor Douven and Lieven Decock.

::Lebanese bilingual and monolingual color naming
>>Paris, France; Nabatiye, Lebanon

In Lebanon, the purple area of the color spectrum is named by the non basic French term ‘mauve’, both in Arabic and in French by bilinguals. Moreover, in their French lexicon, the area seems highly unstable. The working hypothesis of this experiment is that the area is unstable because there exists in Arabic several terms to describe it, none of which seems more basic then others. Several terms also describe other areas of the spectrum, but they, however, stabilize. I suggest that the reason why precisely the purple area is not consistently named by a same term across the population, is perceptual. In other words, the case of the unstable purple area in the French lexicon of bilinguals is both perceptual and cultural or linguistic. This feature of the lexicon demonstrates that none of the relativist or universalist views can alone account for categorization.

::Preliminary study of the influence of expertise on color categorization
>>Paris, France

In collaboration with Nicolas Claidière (biology & psychology).

The working hypothesis of this experiment is that basic color terms are the result of a reference stabilization process. As a result, some terms are more ‘basic’ then others. We suggest that an important factor in this stabilization process is the frequency of use of the color words. In that perspective, ten students from the same art school in Paris were tested.
The experts’ lexicon differed from the ordinary lexicon in that the term ‘parme’ appeared as stable in the purple area. As a second step, we would like to compare the performances of these students in discrimination tasks between ‘parme’ and ‘violet’, and between ‘vert’ and ‘bleu’. We hypothesize, contra Winaver et al., that while the border between ‘parme’ and ‘violet’ will not survive the verbal interference task, as did not the border between russian terms ‘siniy’ and ‘goluboy’ (light and dark blue), the border between ‘vert’ and ‘bleu’ will. We suggest that this result would be understandable based on the fact that ‘vert’ and ‘bleu’ are more stable then ‘parme’. The reasons of this superior stability are perhaps partly perceptual, but they are linguistic as well, to the extent that the term ‘parme’ has been recently acquired at the art school.

::Color sorting
>>Paris, France

In collaboration with Nicolas Claidière (biology & psychology) and Coralie Chevallier (psychology).

Is the categorization behavior of adults exclusively determined by perceptual factors? Such is the suggestion of the Basic Color Terms Theory (BCTT) proponents. With this experiment, we suggest to test the BCTT hypothesis. If adults’ categorization behavior is only determined by perceptual factors, then, when asked to sort colors into three or four groups, French adults should sort colors the way adults of a language with only three or four basic categories would. Our results do not confirm the BCTT hypothesis.

::French color naming
>>Lyon, France

In collaboration with Nicolas Claidière (biology & psychology) and Coralie Chevallier (psychology).

We tested 20 native French speakers using the World Color Survey protocol to identify French basic color terms and categories. These data were also used to test another approach to color lexicon, and another operational definition of cognitively meaningful categories.

Say Something