WORDS AND COLORS

“Words signify man’s refusal to accept the world as it is.” ~Walter Kaufmann

Learning the name of a color changes the part of the brain that handles color perception.

Infants perceive color in the right hemisphere of the brain, while adults do the job in the brain’s left hemisphere by seeing the word instead of a clear perception of the color.

Researchers Testing toddlers showed that the change occurred when the youngsters learned the names to attach to particular colors.

It appears that somehow the brain, when it has categories such as color, it actually consults those categories rather than looking directly at a particular color.

Researchers did a similar experiment with silhouettes of dogs and cats with the same result — once a child learns the name for the animal, perception moves from the right to the left side of the brain.

This is important to know because it’s part of a debate that’s gone on as long as there has been philosophy or science, about how the language we speak affects the way we look at the world… scholars continue to discuss the comparative importance of “nature versus nurture” or the right brain versus the left brain.

Researchers studied the time it took toddlers to begin eye movement toward a colored target in either their left or right field of vision to determine which half of the brain was processing the information.

Notice how the continuous changing colors in the image below frustrate our ability to label it with words,instead our eyes becomes open to its fascinating colors.

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6 Responses

  1. Jenn,

    I am also a big fan of Lewis Carroll and Hans Christine Anderson… Please note blog on Alice in Wonderland as a journey to the right brain… The “Emperor’s New Clothes” has been referred to as a child exposing the facades of the left brain.

    Ancient oral cultures depended on storytelling as a way of communicating important social values… Children still love fantasy stories which point to a way of leading life.

    I would enjoy knowing about your favorite fairy tale and see if we can gain insight into its underlying meaning.

    Sid

  2. You know, it’s funny. I consider myself a right brainer, now, and as a child, but i distinctly remember hating Dr. Seuss books even though we had quite a few. I remember thinking the pictures were groteque and the words; nonsense. I, on the other hand loved, loved, loved fairy tales with mystical gardens and enchanted forests with magical creatures weaved into a story where I always placed myself inside. I wonder; Do little boys prefer Dr. Seuss? I think little girls prefer mystical fairy tales with a girl as the main character. Little girls love to identify with the girl in the book. I wonder if they have done studies on this. jen

  3. Jenn,

    First of all I must confess I do not know the answers to most of your questions… But they are excellent questions and stimulate thinking about areas not yet explored… Questions are usually more important than answers so I welcome them.

    So I will attempt to offer some of my thoughts for further dialogue… Words are symbols to communicate what we want share with others… They often contain associations and judgments characteristic of the left brain creating an emotional response… The right brain is free of judgment and can play with words as if they are Toys… And a wonderful example of this is Dr. Seuss poetic stories… I tend to see him as a right brain genius who can speak directly to a child’s right brain which just delights them… His rhythm also has the beat characteristic of life… now you know why I have devoted a complete blog to his work.

    I realize I have just scratched the surface on many of your questions but perhaps we will revisit them at another time.

  4. Look how words play havoc on emotions. So I am curious; when words create emotion what side of the brain does that register in? sometimes someone says something which makes you suddenly get a great idea (a light bulb moment). when words inspire us to think creatively what side of the brain is firing. Oh, I have a million questions i would love to know the answers to. Words are soooo powerful if some part of words are not in our right brain then why do we the human race find words so profound? why do we write poetry. I believe words carry tremendous energy. If you think about it words can come through the eyes (via writing), the ears (Via sound), touch (via Braille) thought (the 6th sense), some people even like to eat their words. I think there are more to words than meet the eye. words/language just may be a portal.

  5. “Truth is simple but not simpler” ~Albert Einstein

  6. Fantastic ! Simply out of this world.

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