Across cultures, the historic and pre-historic record suggests that people develop names for colors in a specific order: black and white, then red, green and/or yellow, blue, brown, then finally a smatter of purple, pink, orange, or gray.
The researchers believe it has to do with the sensitivity of the human eye to certain wavelengths, and how well we can differentiate colors within the spectrum. They crafted a simulation to recreate a possible explanation for the spread of color names throughout a culture without these descriptors. By using “virtual agents,” one of which named a color while the other had to guess what it was referring to, but constrained by the limits of the human eye, the above pattern emerged. That order also corresponds to the colors we see and differentiate the most easily, in descending order.