Gender differences in colour naming

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Gender differences in colour naming were explored using a web-based experiment in English. Each participant named twenty colours selected from 600 Munsell samples, presented one at a time against a neutral background. Colour names and typing onset response times were registered. For the eleven basic colour terms, elicitation frequency was comparable for both genders. Females demonstrated more elaborated colour vocabulary, with more descriptors in general and more non-basic monolexemic terms; they also named colours faster than males. The two genders differ in the repertoire of frequent colour terms: a Bayesian synthetic observer revealed that women segment colour space linguistically more densely in the “warm” area whereas men do so in the “cool” area. Current “nurture” and “nature” explanations of why females excel in colour naming behaviour are considered.


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