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Constraining color categories: The problem of the baby and the bath water

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2019

I. Abramov
Applied Vision Institute & Psychology Department, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Brooklyn, NY 11210
J. Gordon
Psychology Department, Hunter College, CUNY, New York, NY 10021


No crucial experiment demonstrates that four hue categories are needed to describe color appearance. Instead, converging lines of evidence suggest that the terms red, yellow, green, and blue are sufficient and precise enough for deriving color discrimination functions and for a useful model constraining relations between color appearance and neuronal responses. Such a model need not be based on linguistic universals. Until something better is available, this “standard model” holds.

Open Peer Commentary
1997 Cambridge University Press

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