Do U see what I see?

August 8, 2011 @ BBC

Roses are red, violets are blue – or are they? The colours you see may not always be the same as the colours someone else sees… as we see colour through our brains, not our eyes. Neuroscientist Beau Lotto explains.

Colour is one of our simplest sensations… even jellyfish detect light and they do not have a brain. And yet to explain lightness, and colour more generally, is to explain how and why we see what we do.

The first thing to remember is that colour does not actually exist… at least not in any literal sense. Apples and fire engines are not red, the sky and sea are not blue, and no person is objectively “black” or “white”.

What exists is light. Light is real.

 The grey tiles on the left look blue, and the grey tiles on the right look yellow

You can measure it, hold it and count it (well … sort-of). But colour is not light. Colour is wholly manufactured by your brain […]

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One response to “Do U see what I see?

  1. I’m sure you already know Andrew Parker’s ‘Seven Deadly Colours: The Genius of Nature’s Palette and How it Eluded Darwin’. An interesting read, if a touch awkwardly written.

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