Published on Nov 2, 2019

Colorful PowerPoint Background Images

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Color perception is scientifically about the combination of the anatomy of eyes, functioning of brain and the spectrum of light but first we need to clarify who is the visualiser of the world since world is not equally colorful to all.

Common pets like dogs and cats are one of the most color deficient compared to us, bull ironically is color blind despite the widely held notion of the color red raging the animal and on the other hand there are birds fishes and many insects and mammals who can see entire range of the spectrum ( humans see only the visible range, wavelength being somewhere around 4000 to 7000 angstrom). We are all color deficient taking that standard since this range is a very narrow part of the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

This means that compared to say a bee, our vision is as color deficient as we would think is that of a dog who can barely see few grey and blues here and there. Even with this narrow range of visibility and color perception, 8% of males and about 1% of females are color blind. This brings us to a realistic assessment of the degree of colorfulness that we actually enjoy. If one is granted a wish to see the world through another eyes, those eyes should not be human. There are zillions of colours that human eyes are simply unable to distinguish.


Now coming towards the reason of this colorfulness of world, though very limited and very specific to a species. Our eyes (rather retina) have photosensitive cells called rods and cones that are stimulated by the light reflected from an object.

This means the color of an object we see is what is reflected off its surface and not what is absorbed by it, Only after being reflected of the surface does it reach our eyes and the cells in retina sense it and send it further towards the brain to process. More the type or number of photosensitive cells (rods and cones), more variety of colours the brain can process.

Typical human eyes have three types of cones, while many species of fishes animals and reptiles have four types of cones, and also interestingly few humans have the rare genetic mutation leading to four types of cones. Its called tracheotomy, common in many species but a rare condition in case of human beings which leads to a totally super human capability of color perception unimaginable to rest of us.

Four types of cones means four independent channels of conveying color information and creation of a four dimensional sensory space of colours which enables you to see the “invisible” colours.

The world therefore is much more colorful than we can ever imagine, and science credits rods, cones, brain and the entire electromagnetic spectrum for it.

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