Results of the Color
The figure above plots the log of the frequency of mention of
each of the colors recalled against the log of its rank order.
It is fairly linear (as you would expect from Zipf's law) except
at the beginning. The reason it is flat at the top is that the eleven basic
color terms (white, black, red, yellow, green, blue, brown, gray, pink, orange,
and purple) are remembered at almost equal rates.
If you would like to see what the complete set of terms recalled
were, click here. By scanning the list, you can see that
common colors are recalled most frequently, while many of the terms volunteered
by a single informant are not really recognizable as color terms. Slightly more
than half of all the terms ever mentioned were only mentioned by a single individual.
There is no discernible relationship between the age of the informant
and the number of terms recalled.
However, there is a significant sex difference (at the .001 level):
Women recalled an average of forty one color terms and men an average of thirty
There is also a significant difference (also at the .001 level)
between artists and non-artists: The eleven artists and graphic designers in
the sample recalled an average of fifty three color terms while the others recalled
an average of thirty six.
Successive Pile Sort
The results of the successive pile sort were fairly straight
forward, the cool colors separated from the warm colors and white and black
fairly far apart from everything else. This replicates the findings of earlier
work (Boster, 1986).
Color Difference Judgment
The above picture illustrates the common orders of picking color
chips in the color difference judgment task.
The two chips most commonly chosen first were the red chip (A)
or the reddish-purple chip (L). The chip chosen next depended on the first choice
-- red was often followed by green (F) or purple-blue (J), while reddish-purple
was often followed by yellow (D). The colors in the center were usually the
last to be chosen as most different.
In general, the order of picking colors in the difference task
reflected their dissimilarity, but a few informants appeared to pick colors
in order of their similarity, as shown by the figure above. Informants with
positive z-scores picked the chips in an order in which each was different from
the last chosen, informants with negative z-scores picked the chips in an order
in which each was similar to the last chosen.