Thursday, March 5, 2015

Seeing Blue... and Yellow and a Lot of other Colors

I posted this on my other blog then thought, even though it's not directly about sewing, it is related. Every time we choose fabric we are thinking about color.

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Researchers believe that we were not able to see the color blue before we had a word for it. This seems totally bizarre to me and I think, "That can't possibly be true," but there is some fairly convincing evidence. On the other hand, if we couldn't see blue before we had a word for it why did we ever need to invent a word for it? But if it is true, it makes one wonder what we are not seeing now because we don't have a word for it. It also brings up a number of other intriguing questions. Do people who have some kind of language difficulty also have difficulty seeing colors? And what do toddlers see before they learn the names of colors? Does having different names for similar colors - azure, turquoise, sapphire, cobalt - help us to see those colors?

Here's something else color related: a a test to determine if you are a tetrachromat. I guess you could say my result was "inconclusive"? The first time I looked at the multi-color bar I saw 33 colors. I immediately tried again to check myself and saw only 31. That was a couple of days ago. I did it again a few minutes ago and saw 34 colors. Seeing more than 32 colors in the test makes you a tetrachromat.

Interestingly, the article says that tetrachromats are irritated by yellow. I love yellow - either bright yellow or a soft, buttery yellow; I'm not terribly fond of the more greeny yellows. So maybe I'm really not seeing that many colors? Or maybe I'm just different? Or maybe the article is wrong. I am strongly opposed to the notion that people who are physically the same in some way necessarily have the same likes and dislikes.

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So, what about you? Are there any tetrachromats out there? What are your favorite colors? What colors do you hate? (whether you're a tetrachomat, trichromat, or dichromat)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting....I do love colour. I quickly linked through and was counting each bar as a colour and got 44, LOL. Apparently I was making things up, so I will go back and look closely at each bar to determine if it is a different colour than it's neighbour. Either way, I think I see A LOT of colours, and I too like yellow!