Psychologists argue over whether language influences how people think. It could, however, affect half of what they see. The view from the right eye is processed in the brain's left hemisphere, which also seems to handle language. Investigators at the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley, tested how well the right and left fields of view distinguish between the colors known in English as blue and green. Most of the world's languages actually use a single word for the two, suggesting that for English speakers, language influences the discrimination between blue and green. The researchers found native English speakers were faster at distinguishing bluish squares from greener ones if the differently colored square appeared within the right visual field. This effect vanished if the volunteers had to rehearse simultaneously an eight-digit number, which distracted their verbal working memory. Look for the findings in the January 10 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
This article was originally published with the title "What You See Is What You Say"