Colors that we could normally see

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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
 

Answers and Replies

Moonbear
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We can see anything in the visible spectrum of wavelengths...the entire range from red to violet, and any shade from white to black.
 
cronxeh
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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
 
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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
 
Math Is Hard
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something like this?
http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Wavelengths_for_Colors.html [Broken]
 
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Math Is Hard
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There's an article in the latest American Scientist that you may find interesting:

http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/45931
Charting Color from the Eye of the Beholder

A century ago, artist Albert Henry Munsell quantified colors based on how they appear to people; specializations of his system are still in wide scientific use.

Everyone knows the particular shade of yellow that adorns all school buses across the United States. But how do we define exactly what shade this is, and reproduce the same color from coast to coast? Much of the standardization of colors stems from the century-old work of Alfred Munsell, who created one of the first colorimetry systems defined by how people see color: lightness, hue, and chroma (how much the apparent hue differs from neutral grey). Munsell's color charts have been customized for different fields, and are still in use in areas as diverse as beer brewing and soil science.
 
Ivan Seeking
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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.
 
Moonbear
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Ivan Seeking said:
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.
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.
 
Ivan Seeking
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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.
 
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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
 
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Ivan Seeking
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If I recall correctly = IIRC
 
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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
 
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Hypothetically, I mean. like if we altered ourselves genetically or something
 
Ivan Seeking
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You apparently missed my last post. We posted simultaneously.

IIRC = If I recall correctly
 
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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!!!
 
hypnagogue
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Ivan Seeking said:
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.
Might this be it?

http://www.psycport.com/stories/ascribe_2004_07_14_eng-ascribe_eng-ascribe_014026_988726893508805748.xml.html [Broken]

Some snippets:

COLLEGE PARK, Md., July 7 (AScribe Newswire) -- It's long been known that color blindness is caused, usually in men, by changes in the red and green opsin genes, the genes that enable humans to perceive color. But a new study of randomly selected people from geographically diverse populations shows that normal variation in the red opsin gene may have been maintained by natural selection to give humans, especially women, a better perception of color.

[...]

However, Verrelli and Tishkoff show that color vision changes can be beneficial too. Because females can have two different versions of this gene, but men can have only one, females may be able to perceive a broader spectrum of colors in the red/orange range. "Men and women may be literally seeing the world differently," Tishkoff said.

[...]

Those variations may have been especially important, Verrelli and Tishkoff speculate, in a time when humans were hunter-gatherers. Enhanced color perception would have allowed women, who were traditionally gatherers, to better discriminate among colored fruits, insects and background foliage.
 
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hypnagogue
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Simetra7 said:
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!!!
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.
 
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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!
 
somasimple
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Hi,
You're already seeing millions colours!
and eye definition is largely far from our best screens.
 
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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?
 
somasimple
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I meant that a 22' screen is a poor eye.
An eye is like a 2200' screen... A pretty huge definition.
 
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So what's the biggest definition an eye could (hypothetically) have?
What's the biggest definition a human eye could have?
(The bigger the definition, the better the range of visible colors, etc, right?)

Thanks
 
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So if I wanted a list of all the different colors that we could hypothetically percieve..it would be like a list of a million colors?
 
selfAdjoint
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The cones in our eyes sample the incoming radiation at three to five overlapping frequency windows, and pass the averaged intensity amount in each window to the primary visual cortex. The primary VC does a subtraction between the amounts to generate three parameters. Apparently each color we can distinguish is identified with some triple of these parameters. All of this is analog and threrefore at least implicitly continuous. So it COULD be that the number of distinguishable colors is potentially a continuum. This is supported by the fact that each color we are aware of is actually a range, and that people introduce new named colors by subdividing these ranges.
 
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okay...thanks

Could I get a list of all the colors (that are associated with wavelengths) that are visible to us at the moment though? like green, blue, orange, etc?

Thanks
 

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