The resent paper reviews three phases in the literature on cognition and colour, and also Luria's (1976) observations of the effects that literacy and/or schooling have on colour naming and colour categorization. It is argued that Luria's own interpretation of his findings is partiafly flawed by inconsistency, and by ethnocentric presuppositions concerning mediation and abstraction. A revised interpretation is proposed that draws on Gibson's (1950, 1966) contrast between direct and indirect perceptions. It is suggested that language usage and cultural practices (...) come to exert a joint effect upon the experience of colour by selectively directing attention towards or away from the various perceptible aspects of coloured objects. (shrink)
Perception and cognition can be understood either as conscious experience, thought, and behaviour or as bodily functions executed at the level of information processing. Whether or not they are cognitively penetrable depends on the level referred to. Selective attention is the mechanism by which cognition affects perception, theory influences observation and observational reports, culture biases experience, and current knowledge determines what inferences are made. Seeing must be distinguished from seeing as.
In adult humans, conscious visual experience is shaped by particular cultural practices, as evidenced in the cross-cultural literature. In addition, the practices of our own culture already inform attempts to assess the experience of newborns or other animals.