‘Russian blues’: How language shapes the way our brains perceive the world


Does the language you speak influence how you think? This is the question behind the famous linguistic relativity hypothesis, that the grammar or vocabulary of a language imposes on its speakers a particular way of thinking about the world.

Consider the case of the “Russian blues.” While English has a single word for blue, Russian has two words, goluboy for light blue and siniy for dark blue. These are considered “basic level” terms, like green and purple.

1-23-2019 dpfy fxcayzxgk
Image credit: Jonathan Winawer et al


The authors tested whether colored triangles could be detected more easily when the triangles were made visually salient by being positioned against a contrasting color. For example, a dark green color against a light green background is harder to see than a dark green color against a dark blue background. Green against blue is easier to see because of the strong color contrast between dark blue and dark green provided by linguistic categorization. What if the colors were goluboy and siniy?

Related article:  American teens lose access to mental health care at 18 – with disastrous results

[T]he contrast between goluboy (light blue) and siniy (dark blue) was a stimulus that grabbed the brain’s attention centers more than the light green / dark green contrast.

[This indicates] that the brain processes the light blue / dark blue differently, for speakers whose language makes a lexical distinction.

Read full, original post: Our Language Affects What We See

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend