Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Colors that we could normally see

  1. Sep 12, 2005 #1
    Could somebody give me a list of all the colors that we could normally (Except for when we're color-blind, etc) perceive?

    Also, could somebody give me a list of all the different shades, etc (Eg an illustrated list) that we could normally (Except for when we're color-blind, etc) perceive? Or at least, for example, a numerical amount of the shades that we could normally perceive?

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2005 #2

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    We can see anything in the visible spectrum of wavelengths...the entire range from red to violet, and any shade from white to black.
     
  4. Sep 12, 2005 #3

    cronxeh

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The "colors" we see that you refer to is not entirely correct.

    Humans can perceive light of frequencies between roughly 400 nm +/- 50nm to 700 nm +/- 50nm. We associate color with wavelength: violet (400 nm), blue, green (500 nm), yellow, orange, red (700 nm)

    Here you can see just how exactly the eye converts those frequencies into colors that you perceive: http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/V/Vision.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2005
  5. Sep 12, 2005 #4
    I guess what I'm looking for is a list of all the colors/shades (preferably illustrated) that are associated with (preferably identified) wavelengths.

    Anyways, thanks
     
  6. Sep 12, 2005 #5

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  7. Sep 12, 2005 #6

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There's an article in the latest American Scientist that you may find interesting:

    http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/45931
     
  8. Sep 12, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The wavelenghts of light, even white light, are a finite set, so in principle there should be a precise number of colors within the range of human vision. But then there is the limit of out ability to distinguish between colors, which I would imagine is the limiting factor. IIRC we can see something like a million colors, but this could be way off.
     
  9. Sep 12, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There seem to be at least that many shades of beige at the Home Depot paint counter. :biggrin:

    The ability to distinguish between colors seems to vary more among individuals. I wonder if anyone has ever directly tested this though. Maybe people who claim they can't tell the difference between two colors that someone else is asking them to choose between could if they cared to pay any attention to the task.
     
  10. Sep 12, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What is it that I heard about recently... I think men have fewer rods and cones than do women, so we are entitled to dress like nerds...ie the colors don't match. Anyway, the idea was that women can see more colors than men, I think.

    Sorry to be so vague but I barely remember hearing about this somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2005
  11. Sep 12, 2005 #10
    Could you clarify what you're referring to by IIRC? Infrared Remote Controller? Could we use that to see something like a million colors?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2005
  12. Sep 12, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If I recall correctly = IIRC
     
  13. Sep 12, 2005 #12
    Could we use that to see something like a million colors? You seemed to indicate that when we're in that we can see like a million colors...

    thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2005
  14. Sep 12, 2005 #13
    Hypothetically, I mean. like if we altered ourselves genetically or something
     
  15. Sep 12, 2005 #14

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You apparently missed my last post. We posted simultaneously.

    IIRC = If I recall correctly
     
  16. Sep 12, 2005 #15
    I have often wondered whether it would be possible to imagine a colour that does not exist, like a new primary colour other than red blue or yellow. I don't recommend thinking about this for too long though as it does tend to turn your mind inside out a bit!!!
     
  17. Sep 13, 2005 #16

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Might this be it?

    Evidence That Men, Women Literally See the World Differently: Study Shows Color Vision May Have Been Adaptive During Evolution

    Some snippets:

     
  18. Sep 13, 2005 #17

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That would almost definitely be impossible. When you imagine colors and visual images in your mind's eye, the same general parts of visual cortex that 'light up' when you perceive external visual stimuli are activated. In other words, your conscious visual experience depends on the structure and function of your visual cortex, and all visual imagination can do is activate these pre-existing structures in visual cortex. To experience a new primary color you would likely need to add a whole new set of neural structures to visual cortex.
     
  19. Sep 13, 2005 #18
    Hi, Sorry. I realize now that by IRC you meant If I recall correctly = IIRC haha I think I either missed your post or thought you meant if you recall correctly IRC was something like an infrared remote controller or something :p

    Anyways, I was just wondering, would it be possible for us to see like a million colors? Could you elaborate more on this?

    Thanks!
     
  20. Sep 13, 2005 #19

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hi,
    You're already seeing millions colours!
    and eye definition is largely far from our best screens.
     
  21. Sep 13, 2005 #20
    So we could hypothetically see a million different colors if it wasn't for the fact that we have "screens" like eye definition and the ability to distinguish between colors?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?