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Sheogorath's Blog

Words matter

Today I learned that the knowledge about a word for something has a noticeable impact on the ability to remember this thing. In a study by Jules Davidoff he showed that children and adults had noticeable higher error rates to notice and remember differences in simple colour pallets when they their culture didn’t have a word for a colour.

I came across this, after listening to an episode of the “Open Source Security”-Podcast mentioning a study about the inability of certain Namibian people, who are unable to tell the difference between certain blue and green tones. From there a link in their show notes, lead me to the article talking about it, hinting to a BBC video and having some angry commenters stating that it’s all wrong and the BBC story was wrong enough to be called made up. So with 2 other articles claiming to debunk the linked article, I was a bit lost, since the story was such a nice TIL topic. Willing to write a TIL article about it, I decided to go after the Researcher called responsible for all of this and found the study linked in the first paragraph. What a journey.