Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Memory & Cognition 1976, Vol. 4 (4), 384-390. Copyright © 1976 Psychonomic Society. Used by permission.


The effect of incongruent color words on speed of classifying ink colors was measured in visual scanning tasks and in card sorting tasks. In both cases, little or no interference effects were noted when the classification allowed focusing on a single ink color or a set of highly similar colors (adjacent hues). Substantial interference occurred when the task required grouping of three dissimilar colors (nonadjacent hues). These findings suggest that the relative efficiency of name and visual codes in making perceptual classifications is largely dependent upon the memory requirements imposed by the task.