By emphasizing that color categories are the collective achievement of a language community, the methodology of Steels & Belpaeme (S&B) suggests a number of corollaries. It focuses attention on whether a system of categories is optimized to match color experience. If a hypothesis can be operationalized about the nature of the optimality – about how color language becomes standardized – it becomes testable.
In "Does the Basic Color Terms discussion suffer from the Stimulus Error?" Rolf Kuehni describes a research stumbling block known as the "stimulus error," and hints at the difficulties it causes for mainstream color naming research. Among the issues intrinsic to Kuehni's "stimulus error" description is the important question of what can generally be inferred from color naming behaviors based on bounded samples of empirical stimuli. Here we examine some specifics of the color naming research issues that Kuehni raises. While (...) we share Kuehni's view regarding potential problems caused by the "stimulus error" and his concern regarding its prevalence, Kuehni's commentary seems primarily aimed at stimulating a general discussion of color naming research implications, because the articles he critiques do not actually commit the "stimulus error" in any serious sense. Based on Kuehni's comments, we further examine some of the relevant empirical and theoretical implications for cross-cultural color naming research. (shrink)