Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Carrots Help Us See The Color Orange

Date:
July 23, 2008
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
One of the easiest ways to identify an object is by its color -- perhaps it is because children's books encourage us to pair certain objects with their respective colors. Why else would so many of us automatically assume carrots are orange, grass is green and apples are red?

Orange carrots. Researchers showed that knowledge of objects can be used to identify color.
Credit: iStockphoto

One of the easiest ways to identify an object is by its color -- perhaps it is because children’s books encourage us to pair certain objects with their respective colors. Why else would so many of us automatically assume carrots are orange, grass is green and apples are red?

Related Articles


In two experiments by Holger Mitterer and Jan Peter de Ruiter from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, perception of color and color constancy (the ability to see the same color under varying light conditions) were examined using different hues of orange and yellow. By using these hues on different objects, the researchers hoped to show that knowledge of objects can be used to identify color.

In one experiment, half of the participants saw traditionally-colored orange objects in their respective hue, while the other participants saw the same objects in an ambiguous hue between yellow and orange. The participants that saw the ambiguous hue on traditionally-colored orange objects later called the item with that ambiguous hue "orange". Apparently, seeing the ambiguous hue on a traditionally-colored orange objects led participants to redefine that hue to be proper "orange".

In the second experiment, participants saw the same hues, but now on objects that could be any color (e.g., a car). Some participants were shown objects that ranged from the ambiguous color from the first experiment to a strong yellow hue, while others were shown objects in a range of strong orange hues to the ambiguous color. Just as in the first experiment, participants then had to identify a sock that had been colored with an ambiguous hue. This second experiment revealed no differences between the two groups, showing conclusively that it was only the knowledge of how objects are naturally colored that made them redefine the colors in the first experiment.

The results, published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, determined that the use of top-down processing, such as a carrot signifying the color orange, is delayed in both color perception and also in other perceptual domains. If humans used this conceptual knowledge immediately, it would override perceptual cues and cause hallucinations.

“Delayed feedback for learning prevents such illusions, but still utilizes prior probabilities provided by world knowledge to achieve perceptual constancy,” the researchers concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "How Carrots Help Us See The Color Orange." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080722102723.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2008, July 23). How Carrots Help Us See The Color Orange. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080722102723.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "How Carrots Help Us See The Color Orange." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080722102723.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) A new study found losing just half an hour of sleep could make you gain weight. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) According to a report from the CDC, suicide rates among young women increased from 1994 to 2012 while rates among young men have decreased. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins