|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
Colors, as color images, are stored and processed in the right cerebral hemisphere, often known as the "right brain" (in right-handed people). Verbal language is stored and processed in the left cerebral hemisphere, often known as the "left brain" (in right-handed people). Therefore, if you are asking the question, verbally, "What color is this?" then the person will be hearing verbal language, and will respond in verbal language. They will see the word "red" as a WORD, not as a picture, and they will access the sounds of that word "reh-d" as a verbal file in their "left brain." People who are fluent readers don't see the printed words as "graphic pictures." They see the printed words as written codes for the sounds represented -- in other words, they "listen to" the alphabetic letters. The human brain is the only type of brain on earth that has a special section for phonemic (sound-based speech) language. And the human brain prefers the left-brain phonemic language to pictures or graphic images, when determining "meaning." So, if the human brain is literate, and can read the alphabetic letters fluently, the brain will automatically prefer the phonemic "speech sound" translation of the alphabetic letters, and will not see the alphabetic letters as "colored images." You might wish to write the same words in Japanese characters, and then test some people who don't know the Japanese language at all. Since they can't decode the printed Japanese characters into phonemic (speech sound) words, they will see the characters as "graphic pictorial color images," and they will probably tell you the colors of the characters when you ask them your question.
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