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Color categories only affect post-perceptual processes when same- and different-category colors are equally discriminable

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Abstract

Prior claims that color categories affect color perception are confounded by inequalities in the color space used to equate same- and different-category colors. Here, we equate same- and different-category colors in the number of just-noticeable differences, and measure event-related potentials (ERPs) to these colors on a visual oddball task to establish if color categories affect perceptual or post-perceptual stages of processing. Category effects were found from 200 ms after color presentation, only in ERP components that reflect post-perceptual processes (e.g., N2, P3). The findings suggest that color categories affect post-perceptual processing, but do not affect the perceptual representation of color.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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