Monday, January 12, 2015

This is your Brain on Color



Scientists agree that humans don't all experience colors in exactly the same way. So even if you're looking at a red apple with a friend, you may both agree that it's red, but you may both be experiencing slightly different shades of red. There is also conclusive evidence that shows a small minority of people (mostly women) can see many more colors that most of us, and on the other side of the coin some people (mostly men) are lacking in seeing as many colors as most of us (colorblindness).

That's amazing, right? Yes, yes it is! So check out some of these links to learn more. 

Here's a quick little video lesson on the basics of how we perceive colors with three different color photoreceptors, called the Trichromatic theory.




A secondary system to color vision is the Opponent Process. First, play this little afterimage game to see what colors appear to your eyes after viewing red/green and blue/yellow.




The afterimages are caused by the Opponent Process, which can be a little difficult to understand. You can read about it on the web here. And, here's a video that is somewhat technical, but the slides help get the ideas across. 



And here's a really interesting lecture on the Psychology of Color Vision including both the Trichromatic and Opponent theories! It's very technical at times, but the illustrations in the lecture are really helpful.




Have a little fun with these extra-optional videos!

Look at the difference between the eye and the camera, and see how your brain works both to help fill in gaps in sight, and can trick us in optical illusions.




Want to have more fun with optical illusions? Try these out!




An eye-opening video (bah-dum dum!) on the evolution of the human eye.






And finally, a Ted Talk look at how optical illusions can help us see to navigate our world. Many more optical illusions in this video - very enlightening!



Understanding how we see is one part of the overall Color Theory puzzle, and can help you recognize certain properties of colors as they react to each other and to us! I hope you enjoyed some of these videos and  maybe learned something new about color perception.

1 comment:

Dora, the Quilter said...

I am totally fascinated (and have been, for as long as I can remember) about the differences in the ways people perceive light and how those responses to the exact same color[s] can vary so widely. It is amazing how some people see a set of colors as comforting and other people see the same set of colors and find them depressing. I'm looking forward to reading more of what you have to say.