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Mem Cognit. 2000 Sep;28(6):977-86.

The categorical perception of colors and facial expressions: the effect of verbal interference.

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Goldsmiths College, University of London, England, U.K.


A series of five experiments examined the categorical perception previously found for color and facial expressions. Using a two-alternative forced-choice recognition memory paradigm, it was found that verbal interference selectively removed the defining feature of categorical perception. Under verbal interference, there was no longer the greater accuracy normally observed for cross-category judgments relative to within-category judgments. The advantage for cross-category comparisons in memory appeared to derive from verbal coding both at encoding and at storage. It thus appears that while both visual and verbal codes may be employed in the recognition memory for colors and facial expressions, subjects only made use of verbal coding when demonstrating categorical perception.

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