Colour Perception: Do you see what I see?

Colour Perception: Do you see what I see?


Colour Perception: Do you see what I see? 

It’s a question we’ve all had a think about one time or another. We’d all agree that a leaf is green, apples are green and limes are green. But what if the way I see green is the way you view the colour red? We just call it the same name. Is it possible  that we see different colours to everybody else? Here are some random facts about the way we view colours.

Blue eyes

How we see colour 

So we actually see colours through our brains, not our eyes. Colour does not actually exist.  There are cells in our eyes, which detect light. Our retinas have specialised cells called rods, which are used for night vision and cones, which deal with colour. Cones come in three types: red, blue, and green, which allows us to see these colours. Each person has different ratios of these cones. It is then our brains, that interpret this light as colour. This is suggested to also be tied in with our emotional responses, to determine how we view the colours, though there have been experiments to find out more.

Around 8% of people are colour blind, which usually means they are missing one of the cones, preventing them from seeing that colour. 

Colourful umbrellas


There have been several experiments to try and determine if we see the same colours that others do. Is there any way to know? 

One of the fun experiments that was going around on social media was the dress. The question was whether the dress was black and blue, or white and gold. It all depended on how people perceived it. There are several factors that could impact how we saw the dress, such as what we looked at before we looked at it, or our personal experiences of looking at similar items could influence which colours we saw when we looked at it and much more...crazy right? Surely the dress is one or the other? But for all we know, I could see it as white and gold but you could see it as blue and black. 

Blue dress that changes colour

There were also several experiments carried out by scientist, Beau Lotto. He was a master of illusions who wanted to find out if people saw the same colours that others did. Beau carried out eight different experiments to see if people of different age, nationality and gender would see colours differently. 

A lot of the results showed, that people's colour perceptions were shaped by their own individual experiences with colours and the outside world. The way we view colours can vary from person to person. We really do perceive colours differently depending on experience, age and state of mind.

Pink and Red Strawberry

Colours Effects on Us

Colours can have an impact on our emotions, behaviour and even time. 

Colours can create different moods and emotions, such as red can be interpreted as anger and rage and warmth and blue being a cooler calmer colour, which can represent sadness or relaxation. 

There have been experiments to see how colour affects the way people behave.

Scientists Russell Hill and Iain Greenless were looking into the effects of the colour red. They Created an experiment to see if wearing red might have an impact in the sport. They found that the men wearing red had lower levels of cortisol, the hormone for stress, than those in blue or white. This, in turn, makes them more confident in their game.

Getting ready for that big game? Maybe make sure your opponents are wearing red!

Man wearing red jacket on lone road

So to sum it up, why would we see colours differently? 

  • Well, it could be the way our eyes work, as everyone is slightly different.
  • Our brains could be processing the light slightly differently, meaning we could interpret the light as a slightly different colour to somebody else.
  • Our personal experiences of the outside world shape the way see colours along with our previous moods related to these colours.

So there it is, a little insight into some random facts we found about colour perception! What do you think do we see the same colours or is your blue my pink? For more fun reads and random facts take a look around our blog.

Categories: Random Facts

Share This
Share |