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Color Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

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posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 10:49 PM
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We think of a physical object’s being a certain “color” as a solid, immutable property (grass is green, lemons are yellow, et cetera). However, the way our brains see and process color is largely determined by the language we learned as an infant.

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This is pretty fascinating I thought, how color is perceived differently from different cultures by being tied to, and shaped by language. English utilize 11 categories(descriptions) of color. People are not born with color vision, but within the first 3 months their vision develops. Could the simple words one learns structure their visual world?
An experiment comparing a newborn and a 3 year olds' response to colors, showed that a newborns right brain hemisphere was processing, whereas the 3 year olds brain started processing in the right, but then 'projected' the info to the left, where language is believed to be processed, thus supporting the notion of language helping to shape our color vision.

Upon studying the Himba tribe in Namibia, they found a very different color perception:

Case in point: the Himba tribe of remote northern Namibia, to whom water looks “white” like milk and the sky looks “black” like coal, and who struggle to distinguish between blue and green, yet can easily pick out micro-shades which Americans cannot see. Via BBC Horizon, a reminder that the world looks different to everyone:

They used less than half of the 11 descriptions for all of their colors. Zoozu for dark colors as red, green, blue, purple, Vapa, for mainly white, with some yellow, Borou which hasssome greens and blues, and Dumbu, which includes different reds and greens, and some browns.
The vid is pretty cool with some intriguing experiments and results, and it does seem that language contributes more to our color vision than we had thought.


Peace,
spec




posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 10:56 PM
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this article is fascinating

and makes me wonder what other parameters besides wavelength (color) eyes (of different species) can or are capable of seeing, as well as...

how do 3d glasses (and now, smartphones) create the illusion of depth using differential colors (wavelengths)???



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:05 PM
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reply to post by ignant
 



and makes me wonder what other parameters besides wavelength (color) eyes (of different species) can or are capable of seeing, as well as...

Now that is interesting too! More questions than answers from this study I guess. Your comment made me wonder if new, or additional language could open up other spectrums to us? Not just to see as others have, but to see as others haven't. Pure speculation sure, but indeed intriguing.
Thanks for the comment.

spec



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:09 PM
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The video is fascinating indeed!

My oh my what would communicating with an ALIEN be like? !! Fascinating indeed.



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:09 PM
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Now that's pretty cool, nice post OP.

I always wondered if all intelligent life was able to perceive color the same way. How would beings from another part of the universe perceive the visible spectrum, if at all. I never really thought there might be a practical way to test something like this here at home (sometimes thoughts just don't ground themselves lol)

Anyway, thanks for sharing..... oh, and BTW, I just wanna say....

BLACK IS A COLOR!



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:21 PM
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I think this shows that a culture developed who's first members had a colorblindness.
Add to that a poor translation and understanding of the others language(See below), and the results of the experiment are easily explained without saying that language influences color perception.

On a side note, some cultures have names for just a few colors, while others have names for hundreds. BUT those in between colors can be seen by the cultures that just have a few colors. They just don't have names for them.
I'd put my money on the language barrier problem, rather than the colorblindness being in everyone's genes.



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:25 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


this is amazing
to me it really shows how humans have become disconected to nature unlike all the other animals.
in the big picture this can show us that society may be dumbing us down or hiding from us our natural connections to the earth such as being able to sense changes in nature or upcoming events.
Its obvious that animals feel emotion and communicate with one another but we have lost this automatic feature and turned it into a manual action.
anyway just a bit of food for thought for this new discovery

hopefully we see more money into studies like this



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:27 PM
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It is also known that Russian people have a better understanding of the shades of blue, as they have many different words for blue. It's generally known the more names for colours you have then the more colours you can see. For example a blue to normal people may be light blue or dark blue but to others it could be one of hundreds of types of blue.



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:35 PM
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Video was very interesting! Thanks for sharing!



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:36 PM
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Originally posted by Ghost375
I think this shows that a culture developed who's first members had a colorblindness.
Add to that a poor translation and understanding of the others language(See below), and the results of the experiment are easily explained without saying that language influences color perception.

On a side note, some cultures have names for just a few colors, while others have names for hundreds. BUT those in between colors can be seen by the cultures that just have a few colors. They just don't have names for them.
I'd put my money on the language barrier problem, rather than the colorblindness being in everyone's genes.


I watched the whole video. I was right on the money. It is NOT the language that is causing the different perception. There is no evidence that language influences how we see the world. They actually show proof that it's the opposite.

Here's the evidence they give that suggests their theory is wrong:
So they use the same word for green and blue right? Then Why the heck can they pick out the different shade of green, but not the blue shade in the circle of green? This suggests that it is NOT the language that is causing the perception.

Of course the brain will be different after you learn the names of colors...Because now the neurons have become associated with the words. That doesn't mean the perception changes.
The infant brain goes through so many changes at this time. It is evidence of nothing.


And really...the guy doing the experiment is wearing a Hollister shirt. How can you take him seriously?

P.S. this is in the wrong forum. It should be in the psychology one.


edit on 6-9-2011 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)



I am NOT saying people don't perceive colors differently. I'm just saying it's probably genetic, and not due to language. There's no real evidence for the language part.
edit on 6-9-2011 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:47 PM
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You can see cultural colour variance in how painters of different nationalities paint a certain subject. If you know your art, you could pick a painting from France compared to one from Italy or Russia. I think part of it is lighting and the other is cultural. Colour is also something that can be 'learned' if you look at a persons skin you might say, it's pink or white. But our skin is in fact a full range of colours.



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:49 PM
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I have often wondered if other people see the same "color" I do. What looks like "green" to me could look how "red" looks to them but since we have the same word for that particular shade we still communicate it the same way. It's a hard concept to explain, I hope I'm getting it across correctly, like we perceive the same color differently. Humans have such poor perception skills of the natural world around us. We could be passing right by other life forms and not even know it if they don't pop up in our narrow view of the world.
edit on 6-9-2011 by wiandiii because: for added content



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 11:54 PM
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my mom told me she couldnt see as good as me that blue eyes people see a wall of white on some days and if houses wernt so close on all days so thats why they stay in side and dig holes and where there hate started was some where in the dark in a mind alone i think



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 12:00 AM
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Originally posted by ignant
this article is fascinating

and makes me wonder what other parameters besides wavelength (color) eyes (of different species) can or are capable of seeing, as well as...

how do 3d glasses (and now, smartphones) create the illusion of depth using differential colors (wavelengths)???

3dcameras are 2 cameras offset a couple of inches.side by side like your eyes.so the scenes are shot from slightly different angles.The cameras are filtered red and blue as are the glasses you wear so each eye processes the correct cameras view: your brain interprets the "parallax" as distance information like your normal vision presenting the illusion of images in 3 dimensional space.thecolor has nothing to do with color perception it's merely awayto ensure the right eye sees the right cameras view, the left the left camera.
eyeglass-less 3d I dunno...

I see the current eyeglass glass systems us polarizing filters instead of the old tech red/blue colors.




edit on 7-9-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-9-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-9-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by Ghost375
I watched the whole video. I was right on the money. It is NOT the language that is causing the different perception. There is no evidence that language influences how we see the world. They actually show proof that it's the opposite.

Here's the evidence they give that suggests their theory is wrong:
So they use the same word for green and blue right? Then Why the heck can they pick out the different shade of green, but not the blue shade in the circle of green? This suggests that it is NOT the language that is causing the perception.

Of course the brain will be different after you learn the names of colors...Because now the neurons have become associated with the words. That doesn't mean the perception changes.
The infant brain goes through so many changes at this time. It is evidence of nothing.


And really...the guy doing the experiment is wearing a Hollister shirt. How can you take him seriously?

P.S. this is in the wrong forum. It should be in the psychology one.

I am NOT saying people don't perceive colors differently. I'm just saying it's probably genetic, and not due to language. There's no real evidence for the language part.
Yes it's in the wrong forum and I agree with everything you said in both posts, except that it should actually be moved to the hoax forum. There is nothing that supports the claims made as you point out. This is the worst thing I've ever seen from the BBC, they usually have much better and more credible material, but this is a complete load of misinterpretation.

And the sky IS black, at least at night it is. And I've seen plenty of white water on white water rafting trips so I see nothing odd about calling the sky black or water white without any further context. And you can't convince me that they actually see a black sky rather than a blue one during the day, I think you are gullible if you believe that from watching that video.

The fact that we associate an image of an object with a word is a fairly routine part of language development. It doesn't imply what they claim it implies.



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 12:10 AM
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so becaue they have the same word for green and blue !!??? they cant see the difrence they just cought black people man



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 12:53 AM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 

Nicely presented thread, OP. Nicely done indeed. This fits into a broader based topic of "communication" which has always been fascinating to me. Although you've chosen the thread to focus on the theme of linguistic association of color perception, "color" itself is really one of millions of categories we use every day to communicate with each other.

Explained from a layperson's perspective, let's use our five senses as a barameter for this particular hypothesis; think for a moment of words as a description or definition that is universally accepted to look, smell, taste, sound or feel the same for everyone within a particular culture (i.e. we all picture a red apple to look the same in our mind's eye or the smell of rotten eggs to be the same in our brain's stored memory banks). Communication would be impossible without that universally accepted definition and our brain's ability to translate the word into the same (or similar) mental picture, smell, taste, sound or feeling, all of which are associations taught to us in childhood. It's really quite fascinating. What's really cool about your thread and the video you included is how it highlights that the universality of any given word can be different for other cultures based on how their own unique pre-determined word association taught in childhood is translated by the brain into the associated images, sounds, feelings, tastes or smells (which can be and are, in your video, different from our own). Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg which makes it even more thought provoking.

Again, great thread which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Timidgal



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 01:14 AM
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I have to agree that this is mostly a language barrier problem. The way the eye works, physically, has the retina sending the same kind of information to the brain. Now... how, exactly, the brain processes this is going to vary from individual to individual - as is how it relates to one's vocabulary and language abilities. Perhaps the "red" I see is the same "green" you see - but it really doesn't matter as our brain is capable of distinguishing the difference between both and linking that color (however we perceive it to look) to a common word.

Being a fan of anime and having been to a couple cultures that are quite far removed from the Latin-based languages, the whole concept of a language and translation barrier is quite familiar, particularly in social instances. The -san, -kun, etc suffixes used in Japanese, for example, have no real English counterpart. You can throw "sir/ma'am" or "dear" in there to try and tie in the overall context... but it's far from a perfect fit, and the statements lose their value (and cannot be fully appreciated by someone not steeped in the language... so I'm the blundering American in that regard).

You also have socially understood concepts... such as verbal-quips that are common, again, in the Asian cultures as a sign that someone lacks refinement. The phrase "dattebayo" is completely meaningless, and has no English equivalent, really. The closest equivalent is a sort of inside joke based off of a friend's peach inspediment - but there really isn't a -social- equivalent in English, let alone a verbal. Hence, the character owning that phrase gets to say "believe it" in the English translations... which is only humorous when he's been photoshopped to look as though he's about to hit you in the face with a certain brand of vegetable spread.

Anyway - I am somewhat bummed that this is merely a language issue. I was hopping I could simply chant to my children in a certain way, granting them the use of the Byakugan. Who wouldn't want to raise their own Hinata?



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 01:38 AM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


With my limited knowledge, I understand the following.....

Light (which consists of all the colours of the spectrum (hence rainbows and the like), reflects. It bounces off objects. That's why we wear white to reflect the suns light to keep cooler and that's why black makes us hot, because it absorbs light. (Black in my opinion isn't a colour, or if it is, then it is made up of every colour in the spectrum, because it absorbs those colours and doesn't reflect any.

Using that maxim - of light being reflective and black being absorbent, then surely, in terms of the colours we see objects as (irrespective of the definition of the colour we give it as seen by individuals), then the viewed object must be every other colour than the colour it appears?!

So, if we view a red brick, that object is absorbing every colour of the spectrum, yet reflecting the colour red. Therefore it isn't red. The same would be said of any colour object... it is every colour than the one seen.
Obviously, different materials have the ability to reflect different light, therefore colours, and all other light must be reflected off that object, except where you have a black object, which absorbs ALL light.

In a totally black room you see nothing. In a way, a totally black cat for example, is actually invisible. It is only visible because of the other reflective objects around it. Put it in a light free room and it's gone.

So, we see colours as reflections, and these reflections enable us to see the objects around us... The variations of colour depend on the atomic structure of that object, and that gives us the amazing variety of colours we see.

It fascinates me to think in this way, and in my mind it makes perfect sense... However, if a blue object is actually only reflecting blue, that 'blue' maybe 'green' to someone else... either by a learnt process, or by eye/brain effects.

So in a nutshell - a red object is every colour but that. Comments?



posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 09:27 AM
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Thanks for the comments, and some of your posts have made me think more about this subject and I still think language contributes to our perception, or at least the final result of our perceptions. I found some more info and it is a good read. I have digressed a bit into a deeper subject regarding language and perception, from perception affecting color alone, but we have taken a bite, so let's indulge.
www.bbc.co.uk...
www.bbc.co.uk...
www.icsi.berkeley.edu...
online.wsj.com...
optometry.osu.edu...
arstechnica.com...

I agree, this thread could be moved to psychology, and I will notify mods. Tis a deep subject, but there have been numerous studies on this.
I have to go to work, and have limited time this week, but I will dig into this and respond more thoroughly later. Thanks again.

Peace,
spec
edit on 7-9-2011 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



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