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Thread: colors, colours, whatever you call it

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I believe many insects have their visual spectrum shifted further towards the violet - ultra-violet end of the spectrum and so do percieve colours differently to humans. Many flowers that are pollenated by insects take advantage of this and actually have colours beyond the range that humans can see (some of them have markings almost like runways leading the insects to the nectar and thus also the pollen).

Do girls actually prefer pink, or is it just ingrained from childhood that they should?
I know what your saying Gimli and I've thought about that myself. While all colors are of a fixed wavelength, our perception of color is a function of the brain, meaning that it very well could vary widely among people. Since there is no way to see through someone elses eyes and process information through their brain, there's no way we could ever know. In theory, this could be the case with all of the senses, meaning that we all might have very different perceptions of reality. If you could actually trade minds with another person and perceive the world through them, using their brain, you might find yourself in a very bizarre world indeed. Like Morpheus said in The Matrix, "What is real ?"
Gimli: Yes, for many years I used to worry about the answer to your question, and then I decided that because we can't see through the eyes of others, the problem was academic; not worth the effort of further contemplation. Until such time that some of our sci-fi equipment becomes a reality we will probably never know the answer. Smile Smilie
True True.... but its till fun to contemplate i think!

and there are dogs that see in Black and White.... another difference of perception..

Indeed.. What is real?????
This is a spot the stonehead conversation isn't it? Wink Smilie
Stoneheads? I dont think any of the great philosphers and scientists though history - who have contemplated this very question - would take too kindly to being called stoneheads.

If reality is nothing more than a perception, how can we even be sure that we actually exist at all? It is possible that we are completely mistaken about everything. Other people may not exist. The world may not exist. The internet may not exist. PT (oh horror or horrors!) may not exist. What is the one thing that we cannot possbily be mistaken about?

We are all, to varying degrees, thinking. The fact that you are wondering if you are thinking, means that you are thinking! It is a very old philosophical concept.

Descartes: "I think, therefore I am." - sometime early this century? - if I am not mistaken! Ha Ha Ha Smilie Big Laugh Smilie

[Edited on 29/8/2002 by Allyssa]
René Descartes (1596-1650) said it, I think; however, it was better said by Douglas Adams who wrote something like:
" I think; therefore, I am" and went on to prove black is white and white is black, and got run over in a zebra crossing.
I looked for, but couldn't find his actual quote, so the above will have to do. I don't even remember about whom Dougy was writing. Tongue Smilie
I've usually found that philosophy only ever really comes up in conversation in a very smoky room, if you get my drift. Most people of sound mind, tend to tire of it very quickly and move on to something less abstract.
But I may be wrong, it's just my experience that dictates that to me.
Smoke Smilie
"I...I'm Not und'r th' alfluence of incahol! I only had tee martuni's!" Dunce Smilie
I guess this is sort of related...I wanted to share this because I think it's kind of interesting...there's this girl I know, and when you say a letter to her, she sees a color - her senses are crossed over and sort of mix together. (There's a word for it - synsomething - but I can't think of it off the top of my head.) Granted, that sounds more like she's on acid than that she's got a condition of some sort, but it almost adds a whole new dimension to her perception.
It's called synaesthesia and it's a very cool concept:

Wow, what an interesting condition. The link was very informative Prog.
Hmmm...I made that post Labor Day evening at my brothers house and I don't mind telling you I was drunk off my arse. I'm just happy I managed to spell correctly!

As far as the link, it was an odd choice. I did a search and this one seems better:


So, what do you think? Fact or fiction?
Very interesting site.
He found contradictions in stories that other people never noticed. For example, an postAuthorID describes someone as not wearing a cap and then later on in the book says that the character adjusted his hat. Most people do not see the discrepancy but, since the whole time S. is reading he is seeing the character go through all of the actions in his head, he notices when something happens that doesn't fit. In his head he will have a character walking along the street and then he will read in the story that he adjusts his hat. But S. looks at the picture of the man walking along and notices the man doesn't have a hat on his head.

I wonder what kind of inconsistantcies that S. would find in the Hobbit or the LotR? There would be some interesting benefits to having a mild form of this. But it would be very distracting and difficult to deal with every day. I get upset when I am reading a book because I do have a great imanination and the characters become very real to me and I see them in my head. However, if I had this, I would not be able to read at all, if other people were around. The images caused by the book, and what ever else was going on would get really confused, and blur. I would not be able to tell the difference between reality and fiction.

Herbert woke with a start in the morning, the sound of his alarm clock reverberating in his ears and the flashing of hot pink colors obstructing his view. He quickly reached out and switched off the alarm clock; the obnoxious sound and overwhelming pink immediately went away. He was aware of his dog barking outside as much by the sound as by the orange colors he saw on the edges of his vision.

It would be intriguing to see (for a day only) what sounds evoked what colors. An alarm clock-pink, a dog barking-orange. Would my cats p***ed off be blue, or them just normal meowing be purple? What color would an orgasam be? What would be green? What would the sounds of a storm be like? a horn honking? someone screaming? or laughing? It would be a rather scary experience.

When I was in school I color cordinated my classed. Science was alway green, and Math red. French/German were blue, etc. Would the colors stay the same if I developed this, or would they stay the same.

One very intriguing ability was the way he could regulate his own pain. He describes how pain is a red thread that grows bigger and bigger, eventually blocking everything else out. So, he "cut the thread, making it smaller and smaller, until it was just a point" and he no longer felt the pain. I have not heard of many other people with synesthesia who use this technique but it would be an interesting research topic. It is possible that people have this capability but are not aware of it.

Maybe if I had had this aspect of Synesthesia I could have cut the pain and never have had my hysterectomy (at 31) and been able to have more than one child. Or with my neck problems I could still be driving. Can you imagine, how a woman in labor love this. No more dangerous drugs that could harm the baby. An interesting research topic would be if all people have this ability hidden in themselves somewhere, but can't active. Could scientist do something to switch this on, w/o bringing about the other systems of Synesthesia?

This was a very thought provoking thread.

[Edited on 7/9/2002 by MelliotSandybanks]

eh-hem Melliot, there may be children watching (just grondied a word, since the language filter seems to have fallen down)

[Edited on 8/9/2002 by Allyssa]
Like I said, it's an interesting concept. Another example of how drastically different our perceptions of reality could be. To be able to "hear" colors and "taste" sounds, etc. ...very cool.
I think that the ability to control pain in this way would certainly be a talent that Elves would posess.

It would be a very useful ability, although I cant say I have experienced anything like what is described above. I do get certain "colour-like" impressions about everything that I see and hear, but I dont actually see them. Wish I did.

Wink Smilie I think that anger, regardless of source, would be red. Happiness would be yellow, contentment mauve, envy green, jealousy electric green, surprise hot pink, shock orange, derision brown, sadness dark blue, and confusion would be a paisly pattern. What colour do you suppose love is? rose pink maybe?

And I am almost certain that orgasms are silver/gold and sparkle like champaigne.Ha Ha Ha Smilie
I'll never look at the bubbly the same again!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry Allyssa, I did not realize that I put that word in there. When I wrote that I had just taken one of my many cats to the vet, and he was NOT happy. You could hear him in the entire office, and the vet called him murderous. I do apologize.

I like your suggestions for the colors. I think I have to agree on all of them, Especially the champagne. Sorry I got sooo long winded again.
Since there is no way to see through someone else's eyes and process information through their brain, there's no way we could ever know.

*Thinks again*
Have you ever wondered, if we all see colours the same.. I mean, what if what the colour that you see for blue, is the colour that I see as red.

But surely if one was to get a palette of five different colours as following; red, blue, green, purple and yellow. You could proceed to ask X number of people to point to the Y colour and I assume we could see statistically if generally the majority process information in the same manner?

Or am I missing the point here.. *Thinks*
The trick is the labels. Lets say Y = Red. The objects that I call red and the objects that you call red are the same. For example, we both look at a red car and agree, "The car is red." Now, through some form of magic or sci-fi gadgetry, we switch minds. What you once saw as a red car now, maybe, appears green, because my brain processes the data differently, and vice versa.

Most forms of colorblindness are unrelated to this idea because they are known to be caused by a defect of the eye itself. However, there is one form that has no such simple explaination. People who suffer from certain forms of bipolar disorders and other mental illnesses sometimes have a great deal of difficulty discerning different shades of green and blue. This mild form of colorblindness is not caused by any defect in the eye or optic nerve itself, so must therefore be caused by the brain, proving that, at least in some small way, our perceptions of color can be different.
" I think; therefore, I am" and went on to prove black is white and white is black, and got run over in a zebra crossing

You've all probably got way past this, but I could help it. The exact words in Latin come from Socrates (if I'm not mistaken, here I could be wrong) and run: "Dubito ergo cogito ergo sum." Which means as much as: "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am."
But Descartes said it too, and Douglas Adams said it even better, I guess... Very Big Grin Smilie
You are the one that collects he quotes Tommy. Thank you.
To my friend Tuesday: whose post today
was neither black nor white, but shades of grey.
You've had your say and it twas okay,
I'm glad you have come back to stay. Smile Smilie

Cool Smilie
Big Laugh Smilie

I don't even try to stay on topic. This is a tavern, right?

Just wanted to add this: "What if the sky's really green and we're all colorblind?" Bart Simpson

[Edited on 12/9/2002 by TomBombadillo]
BART SIMPSON SAID THAT???????????????????

That boy is a genius!
If I'm not mistaking, he did say that yeah. Must say it surprised me too, but I still think it's a brilliant quote. One of my favourites... Cool Smilie
When I first read this thread, I thought...good God what are these people smokin? But I suppose it makes sense and after all we are all kinda thinky-stinky and we are in a pub so why not just out with it and say what's on your mind?

I have often wondered the same thing about the sense of taste and smell. For example, how is it that the same bottle of perfume can be intoxicating and wonderful to one person and repulsive to another...or how can food taste so good to one person and gag another. I personally hate the smell of almost every artificially flavored fruit candy, watermelon being the worst...it just turns my stomach but many kids that I nanny for just LOVE it. And don't get me started about mushrooms, if other people got the same sensations when I taste, smell, and feel them in my mouth, the whole world would be barfing.
of course this is coming from someone who is colorblind! Big Laugh Smilie

HAHAHAHAHHA that was another good one Gimli! hahahaha Big Laugh Smilie
Do girls actually prefer pink, or is it just ingrained from childhood that they should?

I definately think it's an ingrained thing, cos personally I can't stand pink; after orange it's one of the most repulsive colours in my mind's eye. (but a lot also depends on the shade of the colour and the context in which we see it)
Maybe I've got a slight case of synaesthesia, cos whenever I have a bad migrane I see orange spots and blurs. There's a lot to be said about colour psychology, if you think about the way people associate different colours with different emotions (red=hate/love blue=sad green=envy etc) but these too I think are ingrained, kids are just brought up to think that way, but if you forget about what the majority says, you might see that you associate colours to emotions differently to other people: like I see deepblue=mysterious and darkgreen=tranquility and yellow/green=nausea.
I don't know if I actually have a point here, but just think about it.
I used to like pink and purple as a kid but now I'm older, I prefer certain shades of blue. I do love all colours though, especially when they are all together.

Dogs are now thought to see the red end of the spectrum so they see in various shades of red. It was originally thought they only saw in B/W. They must be able to see a certain amount of colour because I regularly see my dogs notice thing that are different colours but the same shade. If they only saw in B/W, they wouldn't see the object because it would look the same as it's surroundings. They say a dog won't notice something unless it moves but my dogs notice stationary objects at some distance even though they are the same shade as their surroundings. This suggests they can see some colour.

One thing I often wonder, is that in this world full of other people, there is a "Me". Yes, weird but why is there a "Me"? I think we all ponder on these ridiculous thoughts sometimes, LOL.

Also, it is much more common for men to be colourblind than women. This is because women have an extra strand of chromosomes on their second X chromosome which carry a second gene for normal colour vision. If one is damaged or missing, they still have the other. Men only have one so if that is damaged or missing, they have no other to fall back on. colour blindness in women is very rare in comparison to men.

I personally can't stand the bright colors, like red or orange. I prefer pastels or light colors, like most blues.
My grandpa was color blind, but he knew what colors were in their shades of grey. Like he knew that I was wearing a blue shirt because it was a different shade of grey than my brother's red shirt.
Not only colors, but sound too. Have you ever thought that maybe what we hear, some other animal can't? Like how we can't hear elephants when the do that one low noise, or whales when they sing... We have to use instruments to hear them.

O by the way, I'm studying this in science right now too, and I think that Mr. Templeton said something about how we don't actually see anything, we see the light reflected off an object. And that we only have light or color waves enter our eyes, and our minds perceive them as such, same with sound, we receivewaves and our mind interprets them as sound.
Yes, I suppose being able to tell between a red and blue shirt is understandable. If the shades of grey were different, so was the shade of the colours. Most colourblind people are only partially colourblind having difficulty with red and green only. Chances are, the blue would have been darker than the red. I'm talking about seeing a small ball on the grass about 50 yards away that is the same shade as the grass but a different colour. Also, people have better binocular vision than dogs and can still see stationary objects with ease whereas many animals like dogs and cats can't. A rabbit crouching in the dead grass might not be noticed by a cat or dog but we could notice it straight away if we looked in it's general direction.
Also, we all know, to a point, what it's like to be colourblind. Like at night. I often walk the dogs in the dark and the only colour I can see is what is emmited as light. The grass looks different shades of grey as everything else does because your cones, which percieve colour, need good light to function so you rely intirely on your rods which pick up B/W when it's dark with no coloured lights.
I might fail to tell the difference of things which are the same shade but different colour in these conditions, even if there is a full moon which can be quite bright. I notice them because I know they are there or because they are close enough for me to see other detail on them or any small shadows they make that give away their shape. The dogs still manage to notice these things though in the day and at a distance. This suggests they can see some colour. Also, their eyesite is better at night than in the day.
Remember, shade and colour are not the same.

It's true that we don't see objects, only light. If everything was the same colour, was hit evenly on every square cm if it's surface with even light so there were no shadows or highlights, we would just see a plain screen of whatever colour it was and would be blind to any actual objects.
Luthien: When we see something, we don't just perceive colour and shades, but also something called intensity.(The amount of energy in the radiation, as opposed to the energy pr photon(colour), and the energy reflected/indecent energy(shade)) Some fish(eg place), masters of camoflage, actually can't see colour. They adapt the pigments of their skin according to the intensity of the light from the surface below them. In an experiment, a type of place was put in a tank of water with a yellow-and-blue-checkered pattern on the bottom. Although the colour where very different, they had the same intensity, and thus the fish perceived the bottom to be monocromatic. (one colour) This might be what your dog is seeing.. Dog Smilie Our sun shines in all the colours of the spectrum, but whith most intensity in the yellow region. This is one of the reasons early spring flowers often are yellow..

Some people can actually see more colours than the rest of us. Two objects painted in slightly different colours, as measured by a spectroscope, was placed besides each other. The vast majority of people, including the scientists, was not able to tell the difference. But a special few noticed right away.

It might be interesting to know that the images we perceive when we look at something, is at least as much a result of our brains as of our eyes. Our eyes have an angle of vision of appox. 120 degrees. What we "see" outside of this angle, is actually generated by our brain! In these "blind" angels(about 30degrees on each side), we can detect motion, but not see images. The images we think we see, are remembered and regenerated by our brain, in order for us to get a comprehensive view of our surrondings.

Many philosophers have debated whether we can trust our senses, some have even wondered if there is an "outer world" at all, or maybe what we see, feel and think we understand, only are a product of our own mind. Emmanuel Kant wrote ALOT about that..

Serching Smilie
About the Me business. Hmm. Us humans are, as far as we have been able to tell so far, the only creature on Earth that have a concept of Me. We are the only ones aware of ourselves as individuals, and not only as members of a species. If you give a small baby Baby Girl Smilie a mirror it will at first think there is another baby at the other side of the glass, but quickly realize that it is watching an image of one self. If you give a mirror to a chimpanzee, which share no less than 98% of their genes with us, it will think it is seeing another monkey. After trying to contact this other monkey unsuccessfylly, they loose interest and give up. It is uncertain if any creature except man are aware of their own existence, or just aware of their needs. Like hunger, thirst, fear etc..

According to some areas of modern quantum physics, nothing kan exist on its own, it have to be observed in order to come into existence. So strictly speaking, all your friends, pt and taxes only exist if you observe them!

As most of modern physics, this knowledge is completely useless, and will only give you a headache. If you don't get a headache, you haven't understood anything. In that case, welcome to the club!

Oh, please note the lack of a litterature list. Read Smilie This is written by memory. My own crappy memory. Get the point?
Us humans are, as far as we have been able to tell so far, the only creature on Earth that have a concept of Me. We are the only ones aware of ourselves as individuals, and not only as members of a species.
Well I think dolphins and mice do have the concept of self, but having decided that it isn't what it is cracked up to be, they have learned to relegate the concept to the back rooms of their subconscious, and are now able to find more enjoyment in life. Cool Elf Smilie
Have you ever wondered, if we all see colors the same.. I mean, what if what the color that you see for blue, is the color that i see as red. Maybe we all perceive colors differently. Maybe our minds just make it so that they colors look ok together..

Me and some friends of mine had this discussion a long time ago, uuh, let's see, we were 12 - 13 years old or something, so it was 5 - 6 years ago. We reached the conclusion that it was very much possible that everybody perceive the colour differently. We all get to learn what name a specific colour has when we're children, and that will never change. And about matching colours, perhaps that's another thing we learn in our childhood, which colours go with which, and then we adapt that in our own homes because we think that is just our specific taste, and not something we've learnt.
And perhaps that's the explanation to why some people think other people has got horrible taste and "How can they mix colours like that, it looks awful!" Not only because it doesn't appeal to him/her, but also because the people involved see the colours in different colours.
Or perhaps I'm just babbling away. Tongue Smilie

[Edited on 22/4/2003 by Airecristiel]
An experiment has shown that some people can differenciate between more colours than average! They gave the test persons two samples with what most described as the exact same colour but some very few could actually see them as different colours!

(spectroscopy showed that the difference in coulour of the two samples did excist, just most people was not able to see them)