3. How can language cope with color? Functional aspects of the nervous system

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A naïve observer does not see any problem with naming colors – don’t we generally all agree about the naming of colors? Certainly, a given distribution of wavelengths usually stipulates the same denomination in different individuals, such as <i>red </i>or <i>green</i>. (Actually, due to our limitation to three classes of receptors, a huge number of luminance distributions will all lead to exactly the same impression of red). I here argue that the strict relation between wavelength distribution and color name hides the fact that the actual brain states of different individuals when seeing the same red probably differ significantly, a fact masked by the convention learned during childhood to label certain wavelength distributions with a specific word.


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