why do we see the colors we see

What is it? Pink and white or grey and mint green (Picture: Nicole Coulthard)
It looks like the internet is baffled again by the simplest of things a shoe. This, of course, is not the first time people have been debating the colour of a clothing item as last year we were all wrapped up in the white/gold or blue/black dress debacle and now we have the shoe. Is it pink and white or grey and mint green? Who knows? Well, the person who originally posted the photo of the shoe assures us that the physical shoes are actually pink and white but hundreds of people have been saying on social media that they can see the shoes as grey and mint green. It was the dress that captured the attention of the masses last year with many people saying theyPsee it as white and gold and others saying it is blue and black, however, the original poster showed other pictures in which the dress is definitely blue and black. But what is the actual reason for the difference in perception of these colours? It is down to a variety of factors such as lighting, phone/computer screen display, brains interpretation and type of sight. There is no reason for absolute sure, but some photographersPhave come out to say that its all down to white balance. What is white balance? White balance is a feature that many photo editors and photographers will be familiar with and it refers to the actionPof removing colour casts from aPphoto so that an object that is physicallyPwhite, appears white in the photo.


The reason a colour may look differentPin a photograph than it is in real life is down to the colour temperature in the environment when you were taking the picture. If a colour temperature is cool it means there will be more blue tones in the photo, if the colour temperature is warm there will be more yellow tones in the photo. The dress may have appeared blue with the colour cast, but after white balance it can appear white. If this doesnt convince you then there are several other theories that may explain the reason some of us see differentPcolours. One idea is that the screen of your phone or computer with whichPyouPviewed the picture has manipulated the colour somehow. This is a fairly believable theory as most screens have a combination of colours that make up their display and they all have the colours in different proportions to give their customers what they think is the best display. Although this would be a convenient explanation and could account for small discrepanciesPin the colour identification, it is certainly not enough to account for the major difference between pink and green or black and gold. You could say it is down to peoples eyes, seeing as we all have varyingPratios of red to green cones in our eyes which cause everyone to perceivePcolour in their own way, but usually in very subtle differences.


More: This is particularly evident under bad lighting, like when you look at the stars and some people say they are red while others think they are pink. Again these discrepanciesPwould not be enough to account for the huge difference in colour perception of these pictures. One of the most plausible theories is that the colour perception discrepancies are down to colour constancy which is an ability that ensures that the perceived colour of an object stays constant despite changes in lighting. The shoe and the dress are both photographed up close and we have no idea about the environment or lighting and the brain interprets the colours based on what light might be falling on it. In short, we dont know for certain, so let the debate rage! MORE: MORE: How do you know if a banana is raw, ripe or rotten? Well, you could obviously take a bite and tell, but most of the times, you can tell just by looking. Especially if weБre talking about rotten bananas. A raw banana would look green, a ripe one would be yellow and a rotten one is most likely blackened. Have you wondered how we know the difference between these different colors?


LetБs find out. What are Colors? All the colors we perceive are an effect of light. The seemingly colorless sunlight actually contains all the colors we can see, but at different wavelengths. In fact, color itself, is light of a particular wavelength, reflected. When sunlight falls on an object, the surface of the object absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest of it. Which wavelengths of light are reflected or absorbed depends on the properties of the object. So say the object is a ripe banana, it would absorb all the wavelengths of light except the ones that correspond to the color yellow. And we would thus see that a banana is yellow. This property of the object changes as the object changes, which is why a raw banana would look green, and a rotting banana would appear blackish. Why do we see different Colors? How do we know which color is which, i. e. how does our brain know the difference between these colors? We have a tiny area called the fovea centralis all the way at the back of our eyes that is responsible for us seeing color. This area has millions of light receptors called cones and rods which react to light and tell our brains what colors we see. The cones in our eyes are active in light-rich environments and respond most strongly to the colors red, green and blue, in that order.


So when we see the banana, the light from the banana hits the cones, stimulating them. They send the message across to our brain via our optic nerves, which processes the information and tells us what color weБre looking at. And we then know whether the banana is raw, ripe, or rotting. The rods in our eyes are active in low-light environments, where cones fail to perform, but they perceive black and white, which is why it becomes difficult to determine the color of objects at night, or in very dim lighting. How are Colors and Wavelengths related? You now know that different colors have different wavelengths. The human brain can only recognize colors that have wavelengths within the visible spectrum. Colors that have wavelengths that are either less or more than this visible spectrum are invisible to us. HereБs where it gets interesting. The visible spectrum is different for different organisms. In fact, for some insects/ birds and fish, the visible spectrum is much wider, because they have more types of cones in their retina. Some organisms can even see ultraviolet light. This means that while we can see that a banana is yellow, with some black lines, a bee might see many more patterns, or maybe even more colors on the same banana. HowБs that for a fun fact? Related Article : Watch our video to understandб.

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