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Because we see colors

Because we see colors


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They seem obvious, but have you ever wondered because we see colors? The answer is not so obvious because we take them for granted and instead there is a complex and very interesting process to perceive them. When we get to know it we will realize that it is true scientific magic and that it is because we are wonderfully made that we are able to grasp objects. red, yellow, blue, green and with all the nuances we know.

Colors are formed in us, they are the eye and the mind, together, first one and then the other, which are able to translate light into color. The eye with his receptors it captures the light and sends a message to the brain that produces familiar sensations, attributable to color. This is not a recent scientific discovery, already Newton he understood that color is not in objects but in the eyes of the beholder, in the eyes and in the brain. The surface of any object has the ability to absorb some colors while others reflect them and "send" them to us who collect them.

If a tree is green, then, it is because its leaves absorb all colors except green. A peculiarity is that of white because it is the color that reaches us when an object reflects all of them wavelengths, similarly black, the color of an object that absorbs them all.

Because we see colors

By varying the combinations of red, green and blue we can get all the colors of the visible spectrum. These three are in fact the additive primary colors of the chromatic spectrum and if we combine them correctly we can even get to produce white. This also applies to colored light which, combined from time to time differently, then arrives on our retina. Here are millions of photosensitive cells, some in the shape of rods and others of cones, which receive light from the outside and are able to transform it into a signal, in nerve impulses, to the cerebral cortex, via the optic nerve.

Because we see colors differently

Maybe you have never noticed it but when we look at an object from the front, we see it with stronger colors and sharper edges than an object placed in a peripheral area. Now let's see why. The secret lies in our eye, in the different behavior of rods and cones.

Let's start with rods. There are over 120 million of them in the eye, they mainly focus on the edge of the retina and have the task of transmitting mainly black and white information to the brain. THE cones on the contrary, they are concentrated in the center of the retina, there are six million in each eye and are able to transmit the highest levels of light intensity, therefore more color and more sharpness. Exist three types of cone-shaped cells and they all work together giving the brain complete information to interpret colors. Each type of cone cell is sensitive to long, medium or short wavelengths of light.

THE rods therefore they do not help us to see a colored object well, but they are essential when we go to an area where there is not a lot of light. There they know how to catch even a dim light, which cones don't do.

Defects of vision and colors

In general, healthy subjects are able to perceive more variations in warmer colors than in colder ones because most of the cones, almost 2/3, process the longest light wavelengths that correspond to reds, oranges. and yellows, the rest deal with wavelengths related to cold colors.

Vision defects affect 8% of men and 1% of women but in most cases they do not even realize it and run around convinced that dark blue and black are the same color, for example. It often happens that the brain perceives color anyway but then it arrives at the brain in a different way. Among the most frequent problems a person can have with colors is what he does confuse red with black. It seems impossible but you may be in a position not to understand which one is and which is the other.

How animals see colors

If that's how it works for us, for the animals? Almost every animal has its own way of seeing colors, some see them much better than us, while others hardly perceive them. Take for example some insects that are able to capture colors that we do not even imagine, other animals, on the other hand, do not have the possibility of capturing many shades but distinguish the colors broadly. It is precisely from these differences that mechanisms such as that of chromatic camouflage with which some animals aim not to be seen by predators because the latter do not catch the slightest nuances.

Because we see colors: books

To learn more, here are some reading tips. They are both books to leaf through, full of information and curiosities and ranging between multiple disciplines.

  • Cromorama. How the color changed our gaze
  • Colorama - my color samples


Video: Are You Colorblind? Color Test (May 2022).