Colour nameability and computer displays.
Much research suggests that there exist universal colour names. Investigations involving
paint and paper media have revealed co-incidence of especially salient names and their
concomitant sensations, within and between cultures. These names have been called Basic
Colour Terms (BCfs), and their prototypical sensations focal colours (or foci). The highest
levelof colour name development within cultures includes eleven BCfs.
A literature review revealed certain omissions in the colour naming work. Firstly was a lack
of usage of CRT-baseddisplay of colours. This was considered an important omission given
the implicit, but largely untested assumption that CRT and surface media may be
equivalent. A second omission identified was a lack of detailed quantification of realistic
Two CRT-based experiments were then devised to quantify colour naming, one involving
unconstrained naming of colours, one involving selection of which colours were exemplars
of (thirteen) pre-generated colour names. These experiments revealed certain regularities in
naming within a (perceptually uniform) colour space. Thus a naming space and its
underlying structure was obtained. Naming space was found to be a composite of they way
membership of (BCf) categories was expressed, and an underlying set of five fundamental
colour sensations. Evidencewas then forthcoming that this structure might be modelable.
The quantified data obtained was then used to investigate the search-efficacy of easy to
name colours. Such easy to name palettes were generated, based on the data obtained, and
compared with colorimetrically matched, and highly discriminable palettes. It was found
that easy to name as a colour palette variable was meaningful, and capable of adjusting user
performance, despite evidence that individuals may possess relatively stable, idiosyncratic
That CRT work has generality was verified by comparison of foci obtained from a series of
studies involving different media. Although some differences were evident, these followed
clear patterns which were not inconsistent with universal colour naming.
This thesis suggests that there exist complex aspects of colour naming behaviour which are
nevertheless understandable, and largely predictable. Such theoretical data should allow for
improvements in certain human-interactions, where tasks involve naming colours.