Webbimarium i Zoom


Om Zoom.


How do we learn to categorize the world along relevant dimensions? One such dimension is color, a salient attribute of things in the world that helps us identify objects. For our ancestors, rapidly figuring out whether a creature lurking in the bushes was their prey or their predator – for which they had to match a color patch with their knowledge of animal colors – was a matter of
survival. A typical adult today stores a vast amount of knowledge about the colors of different entities. And we can use this knowledge in complex ways (think of choosing the color of a sofa to match your living room). Though adults may take this ability for granted, it is unclear how it develops in childhood. In a tablet study, we asked children (aged 3 to 11) and adults to group black-andwhite drawings of animals by color. Subsequently they had to pick a color label for each group and choose the best-matching color.

We found a clear developmental pattern from large variability and low consistency in the responses of young children (e.g., dolphins are grey or blue, ants are black or red) to large consistency among adults (dolphins are grey, ants are black). Contrary to what previous literature suggested, these differences were not due to children having difficulties with color words (e.g., confusing gray for blue), but to differences in the colors assigned to animals. We also observe that children and adults differ in the exact referent within a color category (e.g., the exact green of frogs and alligators). These results offer some first insights into how linguistic and visual input interact to shape the development of color