The problems of color perception appeared when Tumbler published a post about an unusual chameleon-dress. Even two years after this hype, discussions about its color still trouble a lot of people. The result of different color perception depends on visual pigments. This characteristic is inborn, but it can be also acquired after injuries and neuritis. Due to these peculiarities, we can see colors differently.
The key factors that influence our color perception
The color perception is influenced by living conditions, the condition of the person at the moment, vocational training and the general state of the eyes. Physiological causes include a visual defect, such as Daltons, as well as situational mood. In a gloomy mood, a person responds to dark shades, and in a positive mood, the picture becomes sunny and cleaner.
Sophistication in defining colors also plays a very important role. This aspect may be related to natural conditions or special training. The northern peoples who live in Chukotka or Alaska distinguish many more colors of snow, as the success of hunting and survival depends on it. Professional education also plays an important part: artists have a more acute palette of perception.
It is quite enough for an ordinary person just to have a look, and he already concludes about the picture. Because of the visual culture that hits us nowadays, the amount of color information, people stop recognizing shades, they define them rather by shape. Color has ceased to be an indicator of our conditions.
Another hype about our vision
CNY Central recently posted a picture of the trainers on Twitter and invited users to tell what colors they see – pink and white or grey and green. The story of the blue-black dress repeated, and the Internet was divided into two camps.
Naturally, social media users saw different colors. Someone thought the trainers were made of pink cloth, and someone thought they were salad. Photographers noted that the result of the picture lies in an incorrect white balance on the camera. But the questions remain, who is right?
Everything was explained by the cerebral hemispheres. If the right hemisphere dominates, the fabric part of the trainers will be pink and the rubber part will be white. If the left part of the brain prevails, the colors will be grey and green, respectively. However, according to recent research by scientists about the brain function, the concept of “dominant hemisphere” can be considered obsolete. The brain is much more complicated and its functions are not distributed in any separate site.
The answer lies in the system of a human color perception, which was developed in our process of evolution. Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at Washington State University carried out an experiment, that proves that everybody has a different color perception. In an interview, he says about the ability of a human brain to differentiate colors. He has been making research in color perception for the latest 30 years. According to it, the current example is the most remarkable in all years of his research.
A scientific view on the problem
Man has a more developed day vision, in which we distinguish all elements of the surrounding world, including color. Light enters the eye through the lens, hitting the retina at the back of the eye. Waves of different lengths variously activate neural connections in the visual cortex, which translates signals into images. Night vision allows us to see the contours and movement of objects, but their color gamut is lost.
During the day, however, color perception is not always so unambiguous. With different lighting, the color gamut of the object is perceived differently, and the brain also takes this into account. It was noticed, probably, that the same color at dawn can seem to us pink-red, during the day – white-blue, and at sunset – red. It’s all that we perceive color in the context of its surroundings.
If you take the dress situation, those who take the light on the background for sunny, decide that the dress is in the shadows, so its light areas are blue. Someone with the same bright lighting is more familiar to see the whiteness of the dress. This is the most common version. However, the brain of about 30% of people does not take into account the light in the background at all – and in this case, the dress seems blue to them, and gold fragments then look like black.
Thus, each person looking at trainers and dress has their own experience and concentration level, their specific eye movements. And it is also necessary to take into account the level of lighting in the room in which it looks at objects, as well as the color ranges of objects, which the brain recorded before switching attention – all this together taken and gives a difference in perception.
Is it possible to turn red into blue?
Everybody will agree that our blood is red. It is almost the same with the color of the fruit, such as strawberries, cherries and so on. But could it be that what we call “red” is for another, for example, “blue”? If we spoke about it, 10 or 20 years ago, the scientists would say that everybody sees all the colors the same.
If we speak about color perception in our brains, we must realize that the brain gets the light signal through eye cells. And the perception of it has a connection with our emotional state. Due to it, we can see the same colors differently.
This phenomenon was observed by the experiments on monkeys. Their peculiarities show that they have two types of cones in their eyes. It has something in common with Daltons. They have cones that are sensitive to two colors, green and blue. Due to the wavelength of these colors, they can’t see dots on a grey background. So they can’t distinguish red and green.
To sum up all these factors, we can claim for sure, that the perception of colors can be different. And it is not predetermined and can change throughout the whole life. When we are born, we don’t have any ideas about how to distinguish colors. We will have got it only by the age of two. So, we obtain this unique feature.
However, even though we see colors differently, our emotional response to the same colors is universal. No matter what you see, looking at the clear sky, it is the short wavelengths of light that we call the “blue” color that acts on us calming, and the long ones, that is yellow, orange and red, that stimulate us.