Narrator: This is Science Today. According to new research, the language you speak may affect half of what you see. University of California , Berkeley linguistics professor Paul Kay, who co-led the study with the University of Chicago , says the idea that language affects perception is called the Whorf hypothesis.
Kay: The basic idea is that the language you learn influences the way you think and that people who are native speakers of different languages will have different thought processes as a result of the language that they speak.
Narrator: The researchers were able to support the Whorf hypothesis, but only in the right visual field, which feeds the left side of the brain where language function resides. They did this using color tests because if your language has different words for colors, like shades of green and blue, then it's easier to distinguish them visually. But if your language does not have two separate words to distinguish them, your right eye can't tell the difference.
Kay: And we found a strong effect that such was the case.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.