Color and symbol association across cultures

Frazier, Alicia
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Southern New Hampshire University
This paper is a further exploration of some findings by Spector and Maurer (2011). Across six experiments they examined the association between color and letters. Testing three populations, toddlers, literate children, and adults, they found that preliterate children have a different color letter association compared to literate children and adults. By asking subjects to place the letter within the colored box they associate the letter with, they found that preliterate children base color association off of shape vs. the sound or meaning. Letters with few angles, such as O and I, were associated with white, and letters with multiple angles, such as X and Z, were associated with black. Within the present study, instead of evaluating color and letter association across age, it will analyze the association across cultures. There are four groups of symbols, each with four symbols in them. There are the first four Roman symbols (A, B, C, D), and then an equivalent order and shape for alphabetical symbols in traditional Greek, Arabic, a Mandarin languages. Subjects are asked to select from one of the given colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black) that they associate most with the alphabetical symbol presented. The data will be analyzed for similarities across cultures for symbol and color association, which will bring to question if the nature of the chosen color is driven by cultural experience or inherent properties of the symbols themselves such as shape or order of presentation. (Author abstract)