Color Tone Perception and Naming: Development in the Acquisition of Colour Modifiers

DR Wanasinghe, CNW Giragama, N Bianchi-Berthouze
in International Conference on Development and Learning, Conference paper (text)


Conference dates: 19-21 July 2005

Abstract: Color is one of the most obvious attributes with
which children usually start to classify objects they see. The purpose of this study was to investigate the development of children's ability to discriminate and name colors that varied in saturation and intensity (value) for a given hue (i.e., color tones). Perceptual and naming behaviors were assessed in 221 children, aged between 8 and 24, grouped in three categories, elementary, junior high school and university students. Color tone perception was observed through odd-one-out task and naming responses were obtained in terms of modifiers: vivid, strong, dark, bright, dull, and pale. Results revealed that the discrimination of subtle variations of color tones in two younger age groups was similar to that of the university students. In addition, it was found that elementary school children reliably start interpreting their experience of such variations with just three modifier terms: bright, strong, and dark. The knowledge of color modifier terms varied with age. When the naming task was constrained, a developmental order in the acquisition of such terms was observed. Salient dimensions underlying the judgments of color modifier terms were identified. The importance of each dimension varied with age. At the level of elementary, the semantic classification of color tones was strongly based only on intensity. At the junior high school level, it was found that saturation emerged as an important dimension in assigning modifiers.