Tuesday, September 18, 2012


In class today, we discussed the eye and components of the eye that allow us to have visual perception.  Part of our discussion included the visible light spectrum.  Within the visible light spectrum humans can see in the range of 400-700 nanometers.  Some animals such as birds can into the ultraviolet range (300 nanometers).  While no human can see into the ultraviolet spectrum there is the possibility of certain, extremely rare, and only women, who have a mutation that would allow them to have four types of cones.  Instead of having cones that react to only red, blue, and green light (as well as their various combinations) they would have cones that react to yellow light.  By having four pigments avaible they would be able to see a wider range and variety of color that most people can not.  I heard about this from a radio show called "Radiolab" which was running an entire program with color as a topic.  For example they also discussed how cultures may not perceive a color as easily when they do not have a word for it than when they do have a word for a certain color.The labeling of the word, to some extent, affects how we perceive colors. One doctor raised her daughter teaching her all the colors.  She made sure that no one ever asked her daughter what color the sky was.  Every week they would go for a walk and her mother would point to objects and ask what color they are and the little girl would reply green, yellow, red etc.  One the doctor pointed at the sky and asked what color it is and the girl had no answer.  It took the little girl 3 months I believe to finally decide the sky was blue. Some times it would be different colors and sometimes it would be a combination.  I am not entirely sure I remembered this story 100% correctly but you can go to this website http://www.radiolab.org/search-audio/ and search "colors" if you want to know more.  The show is about an hour and eight minutes but well worth it. Enjoy!

- Justin Lopatin

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