Color adaptation induced from linguistic description of color

Recent theories propose that language comprehension can influence perception at the low level of perceptual system. Here, we used an adaptation paradigm to test whether processing language caused color adaptation in the visual system. After prolonged exposure to a color linguistic context, which depicted red, green, or non-specific color scenes, participants immediately performed a color detection task, indicating whether they saw a green color square in the middle of a white screen or not. We found that participants were more likely to perceive the green color square after listening to discourses denoting red compared to discourses denoting green or conveying non-specific color information, revealing that language comprehension caused an adaptation aftereffect at the perceptual level. Therefore, semantic representation of color may have a common neural substrate with color perception. These results are in line with the simulation view of embodied language comprehension theory, which predicts that processing language reactivates the sensorimotor systems that are engaged during real experience.