joshua abbott  

Computational Cognitive Science Lab
Department of Psychology
5429 Tolman Hall
University of California, Berkeley

me  |  research  |  papers

Focal colors and Representativeness
Best examples of categories lie at the heart of two major debates in cognitive science, one concerning universal focal colors across languages, and the other concerning the role of representativeness in inference. Here we link these two debates. We show that best examples of named color categories across 112 languages are well-predicted by a rational model of representativeness, and that this model outperforms several natural competitors. We conclude that categorization in the contested semantic domain of color may be governed by general principles that apply more broadly in cognition, and that these principles clarify the interplay of universal and language-specific forces in color naming.

J.T. Abbott, T. Regier, and T.L. Griffiths. Predicting focal colors with a rational model of representativeness. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2012.
[abstract] [paper] [slides]

J.T. Abbott, T.L. Griffiths, and T. Regier. Focal colors across languages are representative members of colors categories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(40), 11178-1183. 2016.
[paper] [supporting information]