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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Seeing objects through the language glass
Author(s): Boutonnet, Bastien
Dering, Benjamin
Vinas-Gausch, Nestor
Thierry, Guillaume
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Issue Date: Oct-2013
Date Deposited: 14-Jul-2015
Citation: Boutonnet B, Dering B, Vinas-Gausch N & Thierry G (2013) Seeing objects through the language glass. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25 (10), pp. 1702-1710.
Abstract: Recent streams of research support the Whorfian hypothesis according to which language affects one's perception of the world. However, studies of object categorization in different languages have heavily relied on behavioral measures that are fuzzy and inconsistent. Here, we provide the first electrophysiological evidence for unconscious effects of language terminology on object perception. Whereas English has two words for cup and mug, Spanish labels those two objects with the word "taza." We tested native speakers of Spanish and English in an object detection task using a visual oddball paradigm, while measuring event-related brain potentials. The early deviant-related negativity elicited by deviant stimuli was greater in English than in Spanish participants. This effect, which relates to the existence of two labels in English versus one in Spanish, substantiates the neurophysiological evidence that language-specific terminology affects object categorization.
DOI Link: 10.1162/jocn_a_00415
Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience by MIT Press. The original publication is available at:

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