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How Language and Culture Influence How and What We See

August 7, 2012

Sociological Images has a couple of cool articles about how language and culture influence our visual perception, including color. This one points out that some cultures (such as the San peoples of southern Africa) are essentially immune to the Muller-Lyer illusion.Image

And this one tells the story of a lingust, Guy Deutscher, and what happened when he and his wife deliberately chose not to teach his young daughter Alma that the sky is blue. 

And this one includes a BBC Horizon video that points out that not all cultures see the sky as blue, and that people have trouble differentiating between colors that don’t have different names in their language. 

And all that led me (thanks to Brain Pickings) to Beau Lotto’s great TED talk about how and why our brain interprets visual information, and shows off some cool optical illusions. 

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