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Color terms: native language semantic structure and artificial language structure formation in a large-scale online smartphone application

MPS-Authors
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Müller,  Thomas F.
The Mint, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Winters,  James
The Mint, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Morin,  Olivier
The Mint, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Müller, T. F., Winters, J., Morisseau, T., Noveck, I., & Morin, O. (2020). Color terms: native language semantic structure and artificial language structure formation in a large-scale online smartphone application. PsyArXiv Preprints, 9zmcg. doi:10.31234/osf.io/9zmcg.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-94C7-1
Abstract
Artificial language games give researchers the opportunity to investigate the emergence and evolution of semantic structure, i.e. the organization of meaning spaces into discrete categories. A possible issue for this approach is that categories might simply carry over from participants’ native languages, a potential bias that has mostly been ignored. We investigate this in a referential communication game by comparing color terms from three different languages to those of an artificial language. Here, we assess the similarity of the semantic structures, and test the influence of the semantic structure on artificial language communication. We compare the in-game communication to a separate online naming task providing us with the native language structure. Our results show that native and artificial language structure overlap at least moderately. Furthermore, communicative behavior and performance were influenced by the shared semantic structure, but only for English-speaking pairs. These results imply a cognitive link between participants’ semantic structures and artificial language structure formation.