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Title: A Stroop investigation of colour categorisation
Author: Laws, Glynis
ISNI:       0000 0001 3606 0740
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1993
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In order to assess Berlin and Kay's (1969) theory of linguistic universals and to test their proposal for an evolutionary hierarchy in the development of colour terms, linguists and anthropologists have sought reliable criteria on which to decide whether or not a colour term is "basic". Berlin and Kay's operational definition of basicness is essentially a list of linguistic criteria which emphasise the form, derivation and frequency of the word. The definition has been criticised for lack of theoretical justification and for operational difficulties. Research is reported which investigates the concept of basicness using the Stroop experiment, a method said to tap into the primitive operations of cognition (MacLeod, 1991). The experiments investigated the relationship between typicality and linguistic basicness in English; differences in the category structure for novices and experts; and the status of colour terms in Russian and Swahili, languages at different stages of the Berlin and Kay hierarchy. Results suggest that Stroop measures differentiate between colour processing and language effects. In particular, it is suggested that linguistic criteria neglect the underlying and essential link between language and colour categories and that linguistic basicness, according to the linguists' formulation, may not necessarily reflect category representation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Perception of colour