Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Color naming: between universality and cultural relativity

A new study in this week's PNAS, by Paul Kay (the same Paul Kay who published the classical Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution (1969) with Brent Berlin) show that color naming is a near optimal partition of the color space. Thus it is neither a pure universal disposition nor a pure product of cultural convention. Their model, "accounts for universal tendencies in color naming while also accommodating some observed cross-language variation."