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J Exp Child Psychol. 2005 Jul;91(3):227-48.

The nature of infant color categorization: evidence from eye movements on a target detection task.

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Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK.


Infants respond categorically to color. However, the nature of infants' categorical responding to color is unclear. The current study investigated two issues. First, is infants' categorical responding more absolute than adults' categorical responding? That is, can infants discriminate two stimuli from the same color category? Second, is color categorization in infants truly perceptual? Color categorization was tested by recording adults' and infants' eye movements on a target detection task. In Experiment 1, adults were faster at fixating a colored target when it was presented on a colored background from a different color category (between-category) than when it was presented on a colored background from the same color category (within-category), even when within- and between-category chromatic differences were equated in CIE (Committee International d'Eclairage) color space. This category effect was found for two chromatic separation sizes. In Experiment 2, 4-month-olds also responded categorically on the task. Infants were able to fixate the target when the background color was from the same category. However, as with adults, infants were faster at fixating the target when the target background chromatic difference was between-category than when it was within-category. This implies that infant color categorization, like adult color categorization, is truly perceptual.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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