The Red I See is NOT the Red You See

HBI Blog / The Red I See is NOT the Red You See

Confusing? It is. But not for long.

Color, just like gravity, is an inherent part of visual experience. So how can someone see color (color vision) differently than others?

For the last few years, a few pictures have caused a stir on the social media platform. It consists of a rug or a dress. While some claim the rug to be green, others call it blue. Some claim the dress is blue and black, and others claim it to be white and gold.


Neuroscientists have been trying for quite some time to solve this age-old puzzle. Finally, they are coming up with some answers.

The color statistics of objects are not arbitrary. People mostly choose to label things (like a ball, an apple, or a tiger) that have warm colors instead of cool colors. Our brain often uses colors to identify objects and explains universal color naming patterns across languages.

A recent study showed that the real-world stimuli for color vision are illuminated by low-pressure-sodium lights, the kind of energy-efficient yellow lighting we are familiar with from a parking garage.

The yellow light often prevents the human eye’s retina from properly encoding a color. The researchers tried knocking out this ability among a few volunteers so that the impairment can help with the normal functioning of color information.

The volunteers were able to recognize and differentiate objects like strawberries and orange in low-power yellow light. It implies that color might not be critical in identifying objects. However, the fruits looked unappetizing.

On the other hand, the volunteers were able to identify faces, but they all looked green and sick. Researchers claim that the greenish appearance is like a signal telling us that something is wrong.

No matter what we think about the object in front of us, our brain’s response to a color remains the same. Each color is associated with a distinct pattern of brain activity, and yes, we can determine color(color vision) by measuring our brain activity.

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