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Thread: HEY YOU! Think of a new color!

  1. #21
    (blankpages) Array Xenon's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    Would that work on a computer screen? I thought they only had red-green-blue leds/pixels.

    Now about a new colour... the ultraviolet thing was the first I thought when reading the thread title. But I always get a very dark purple in my mind whenever I try to think of ultraviolet . I've wondered this too... Why can we see many more than three colours, even if we have only three distinct colour-sensors in our eyes? Why do we perceive a mixture of red and green/ a yellow-wavelength light wave as a colour which doesn't look like "in-between" red and green? Why do we perceive a mixture between red and blue (purple) as similar too a colour "higher" than blue (violet)? Argh. I can't imagine a really different colour, because my imagination is rooted in reality.
    I did some reading about color vision when I became curious about dogs, and learned more in university. Dogs have two types of cones, and their colour vision is much more limited compared to humans. Just adding one extra cone greatly expands the palette of colour that can be seen.

    This is why we can see as many colours as we do: each type of cone has a different peak frequency that activates it most, but still responds to an entire range. These ranges overlap. So a colour often stimulates two or three types, and it's the relative amount of stimulation determines the colour we see. So if a light stimulates the "red" cones a lot more than the other two types, it looks red. If the "red" cones are stimulated a little more than the others, the light looks yellow. Etc. It's the comparison that matters.

    So, the reason purple and blue look different is because purple causes the blue cones to be stimulated a lot more than the other two types of cones, and with blue the difference is less. In both cases the blue cone is stimulated most, but with purple the difference is greater.

    There are special cells in the retina that sort out all this information and transmit the message to the brain. If you're curious about reading more about this you can google "opponent process theory".

    The question you asked - whether the tetrachromacy test would work on an RGB computer monitor - was debated in the comments section of the webpages I linked to. It seems to me it could. If the concentration of red, green and blue pixels was different, the relative amounts of stimulation of each type of cone would be different. And two slightly different types of "red" cones would allow more distinctions to be seen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    As a child I always thought there should be six colours in the rainbow and not seven - you've got three primary colours, three secondary... and where the hell did that indigo come from? Why indigo, which is a mixture between blue and violet, and not yellowish green or two sorts of blues like in the paint sets? No paint set had indigo!
    And it turned out I was right too! They added indigo to the theory because they thought God wouldn't make something with a less-than-perfect number of colours... I'm still trying to spread the meme: the correct number is either six or infinity.
    Well, purple was my favourite colour as a child, so I never minded that there were two types of purple. I used to get annoyed that the purple "arch" had to be on the bottom of a rainbow though. That meant it had to be smallest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I think it's more likely that humans are able to feel emotions that no animal can. Do animals feel remorse? Guilt? Not that we are too much better off for it.
    We know elephants grieve, and I'm not trying to downplay the intelligence of animals. But maybe the range of emotions is a part of-what makes us human.
    I think it's both. The definition of 'emotion' is debatable I guess, but I'm sure animals experience states of mind that we don't. I'll never know what's going through my dog's head that makes her thrilled to tear after a ball over and over and never get any less excited about it. Or when she shoots upstairs barking up a storm when she hears someone running around. She has an intense prey drive, and I'll never know what it's like to be in the grip of that.

  2. #22
    Writing... Array Tamske's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    @ Blankpages: I already knew how the eye works... . What intrigues me is the psychological perception of colour.
    Compare with sound - we perceive pitch as a scale from low to high, which is a good representative because pitch corresponds to frequency which also scales from low to high. There is just a logarithm in-between pitch and frequency.
    But there isn't a colour "scale" in our mind - I know violet is higher than yellow because I learnt this fact at some point.

    @ child!Blankpages: look out for the secondary rainbow My favourite colour was magenta, which never appears in a rainbow. But you can get a beautiful rainbow-with-magenta if you let white light reflect of a CD onto a screen, because you get two rainbows whose red and violet parts overlap.

    Talking about magenta: we perceive it as a different colour, but this one doesn't correspond to a frequency! It's always a mixture of red and blue light. Fascinating isn't it...
    Got questions? Ask an ENTP!
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