More Color: Let’s talk a little science

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” 

-Marcus Aurelius

Featured image taken by: Yann Gar

After writing a previous post about color, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the topic. The idea about how something so simple can make such a big difference in how we perceive our surroundings really fascinates me.

  • Majority of humans are trichromat (meaning they see color using three types of light cones in their eyes)
  • BUT there exists people who possess a fourth light cone!
  • This means that they can see up 100 million different colors (100 times more than the average human)
  • Here is another existing fact: 12% of women are thought to carry this gene that allows heightened color vision. No men have been found that possess this gene.

According to report by the Arizona State University, the whole stereotype that women have a superior sense of color in comparison to men might not actually be far off the mark.

Now why is this…?

The lovely X chromosome 

A particular part of the X chromosome allows the individual to see the color red at an enhanced level. And red is one of the colors that an individual’s eye uses to see other colors.

So seeing that women have two X chromosomes, their ability to see color is often higher than that of men who only have one X chromosome. Ah, science.

In relation to this, research has discovered that men have a higher chance of developing color blindness.

My dad is actually slightly color blind, so the research sparked a personal interest. During a recent talk, I asked him: What is like not to be able to see color? It might have been a little insensitive to ask, but I was extremely curious.

His answer: “Well, I usually can’t tell that I’m not seeing the right color, until someone tells me. But I guess I wonder, what does the color actually look like?”

Truthfully, I can’t imagine what it would be like not actually knowing what a color looks like. It is a detail most people take for granted.

But here’s a little video found that really made me think:



One Comment Add yours

  1. clandgraf16 says:

    Kei- I really enjoyed your discussion on color! It is interesting to think about how we see color and the differences in perception. I wonder if age also plays a role in the perception of color. Thank you for sharing this post about color!


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