Is this this or this?

Posted: December 16, 2012 in Crazyness, Real Life

After playing a very brightly coloured puzzle game earlier, I came up with a small theoy theory that I wanted to share with you. Have you ever been in the situation where you have looked at an object (let’s use a flower) and thought “oh what a lovely colour those petals have” , then you have asked your friend for their opinion and they have said “ugh that’s disgusting!”, I’m guessing you all have. The thing is, have you ever wondered why they have a different response? It’s all the same colour right. Well my theory goes that although the wavelength of the light being reflected from the surface of the object is the same for both sets of eyeballs. The receptors in the back of each person’s eye are ever so slightly different. In some cases this leads to colour blindness, the perception of 2 colours being the same, in thankfully extremely rare cases, this can leave a person with no perception of colour except for black and white. My theory goes that due to these differences, each person perceives each colour differently. This means that what we both call blue, I perceive to be more like your perception of turquoise. This means that I could perceive the red colour of a petal to be what you would call pink but what you perceive red to be could look more like a brown sludge to me. Thus why the flower looks beautiful to one person but horrible to another.

These differences in perception have actually been proven in nature. For example, in a BBC Horizon investigation into perception, they went to an isolated tribe deep in the jungle and showed them 2 pictures of circles of blocks of colours and asked them to point to the odd square out. They also did this to people in the western world. The westerners found the left circle hard but the right circle easy because they have different words for blue and green, however in the tribe they found that the people were easily able to find the left circle but struggled with the right hand one. This is because for them green is a very important colour so they have many different words to describe it, however they have few words to describe other colours as they are less important to their survival.hence they are unable to distinguish blue from green. Whereas in the west we have very few contexts for the word green and thus have few words for it and few classifications for it, but we need to be able to identify blue to survive so we have different words for green and blue. This is why we are able to get our results.

Another good example of these cultural differences is when an Eskimo comes south for winter. If you shouted at them “LOOK OUT FOR THE ICE!” they would look at you blankly and might ask “What is ice?” This may seem absurd but in fact it is due to their perception of the environment being different. Because we have very little snow here, we clump all frozen water together under the name ice. At the poles however there is much more snow and hence they need to know this environment in more detail hence they have many more words for frozen water so they could distinguish between what we would see as 2 identical sheets of ice.

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