Panos Athanasopoulos (Lund University) on Language modulations of pre-attentive categorical perception

Published 17 October 2023

On 17th of October at 13:15, Panos Athanasopoulos from Lund University will give a talk about "Language modulations of pre-attentive categorical perception".

Location: SOL:H402

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Modern approaches to the Sapir-Whorf linguistic relativity hypothesis have reframed it from one of whether language shapes our thinking or not, to one that tries to understand the extent and nature of any observable influence of language on perception. One important dimension of this strand of research asks whether language modulates our perception only at a conscious level, or whether such modulations can also be observed outside of conscious awareness, at early pre-attentive stages of visual integration. The current talk will review Event Related Brain Potential (ERP) evidence from three research domains (colour, objects, grammatical gender) that sheds light on these questions. The data shows that it is possible to observe language effects very early in the visual processing stream, thus supporting one of the basic tenets of the linguistic relativity hypothesis, namely that “the 'real world' is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group” (Sapir 1958 [1929], p. 69).