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Publication Detail
Gender differences in colour naming
  • Publication Type:
    Conference
  • Authors:
    Mylonas D, Paramei G, MacDonald L
  • Publication date:
    2012
  • Published proceedings:
    Forthcoming
  • Name of conference:
    PICS - Progress in Colour Studies 2012
  • Conference place:
    Glasgow, UK
  • Conference start date:
    10/07/2012
  • Conference finish date:
    13/07/2012
  • Keywords:
    colour, naming, female, male
  • Addresses:
    University College London
    London
    UK
Abstract
A colour naming experiment is being conducted via the Web1, enabling a large number of observers from culturally and demographically diverse populations world-wide to contribute. The subject has to provide a name for each of 20 single colour patches, presented in sequence at the centre of the display screen on a grey background. The colour naming is unconstrained, so that any combination of words could be used. Out of a total of nearly 3,000 respondents to date, approximately 45% have used the English language,2 resulting in 5428 observations of 1226 unique colour words. 51% of the responses consisted of a single-word, 42% of two words and 6% of three or more words. The eleven basic colour terms proposed by Berlin & Kay (1969) occurred in 28% while non-basic terms were involved in 23% of responses. These results were analysed for gender differences. The number of words (from 1 to 6) employed for a colour was similar for female (58%) and male (41%), with approximately 29% of all responses being one of the 11 basic colour terms. Females were a little more likely to use some other single-word term, but a little less likely to use a two-word term. In the use of the eleven basic colour terms there was little difference, with a slight tendency for females to use ‘blue’ and ‘pink’ more frequently, and for males to use ‘purple’ more frequently. Of the total of 1226 different colour descriptors in the responses, however, 993 (81%) were used by females and 634 (51.7%) by males, indicating that female subjects had a considerably larger descriptive colour vocabulary. When considering response times, there was also a significant difference, with females being on average 17% faster for all basic colour terms.
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