Seeing Color (11-17-20)

Research published in Current Biologyindicates why we may experience particular colors in certain ways. Rosenthal, Singh, Hermann, Pantazis, and Conway “decoded brain maps of human color perception. . . .  colors were presented at two luminance levels – light and dark. . . . study participants had unique patterns of brain activity for each color. With enough data, the researchers could predict . . . what color a volunteer was looking at. . . . in a variety of languages and cultures, humans have more distinct names for warm colors (yellows, reds, oranges, browns) than for cool colors (blues, greens). It’s long been known that people consistently use a wider variety of names for the warm hues at different luminance levels (e.g. “yellow” versus “brown”) than for cool hues (e.g. “blue” is used for both light and dark). The new discovery shows that brain activity patterns vary more between light and dark warm hues than for light and dark cool hues.”

“Envision Color:  Activity Patterns in the Brain Are Specific to the Color You See.”  2020.  Press release, National Eye Institute,