[OPTICAL REVIEW Vol. 15, No. 6 (2008) 295-301]
© 2008 The Optical Society of Japan

Interference of Verbal Labels in Color Categorical Perception

Kenji YOKOI, Tomoaki NISHIMORI, and Shinya SAIDA

Department of Applied Physics, National Defense Academy, 1-10-20 Hashirimizu, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 239-8686, Japan

(Received July 14, 2008; Accepted September 5, 2008)

Previous studies demonstrated that color categorical perception (CP; better cross-category than within-category discrimination) was reduced by verbal interference, suggesting that CP is mediated by verbal labeling. Here, we examined chromatic generality and experience-dependency of verbal interference in CP using the Stroop effect. We employed a simultaneous two-alternative forced choice discrimination task. Congruent or incongruent words were presented prior to discrimination. In experiment 1, incongruent color names reduced CP regardless of color boundary pairs. Next, we used noncolor words that seemed to be associated with color through experience. The results showed that the tested noncolor words did not modify CP (experiment 2). However, combined presentation of color and shape produced Stroop interference (experiment 3). Our finding suggests that familiarity or mastery of categorized information through experience may be evaluated by verbal interference.

Key words: color categorical perception, Stroop effect, verbal labeling, familiarity, color-vision deficiency