Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The world is what you perceive

We all have three types of color photoreceptive cells in the back of our eyes (the retina) – which are often called the red, green, and blue “cones.” We are trichromats. Each of these ‘flavors’ of cone is sensitive to a particular range of colors of the spectrum. And usually when we perceive a color, it is the result of a combination of signals from more than one flavor of cone. For example, seeing “orange” is the result of a moderate signal from a green cone and a stronger signal from a red cone. And we are able to distinguish the range of orange hues from each other by the different strengths of green and red cone signals that each orange hue generates (darker orange would have a stronger red signal, etc).

Can you see any symbols or letters in these circles?

But how many shades can you see here? Count them!

*If you see less than 20 color nuances, you are a dichromats, like dogs, which means you have 2 types of cones only. You are likely to wear black, beige, and blue. 25% of the population is dichromat.*If you see between 20 and 32 color nuances, you are a trichromat, you have 3 types of cones (in the purple/blue, green and red area). You enjoy different colors as you can appreciate them. 50% of the population is trichromat.
*If you see more than 33 shades, you are a tetrachromat, like bees, and have 4 types of cones (in the purple/blue, green, red plus yellow area). You are irritated by yellow, so this color will be nowhere to be found in your wardrobe. 25% of the population is tetrachromat.*If you see more than 39 color nuances: come on, you are making up things! There are only 39 different colors in the test and probably only 35 are properly translated by your computer screen anyway :)

But eyes change over time. You may have heard that digital cameras can be made sensitive to infrared light by removing the IR filter found inside, but did you now that something similar can be done with the human eye? People who have aphakia, or the absence of the lens on the eye, have reported the ability to see ultraviolet wavelengths. Claude Monet was one such person
"Monet’s cataracts left him struggling to paint; he complained to friends that he felt as if he saw everything in a fog. After years of failed treatments, he agreed at age 82 to have the lens of his left eye completely removed. Light could now stream through the opening unimpeded. Monet could now see familiar colors again. And he could also see colors he had never seen before. Monet began to see–and to paint–in ultraviolet.
[…] With his lens removed, Monet continued to paint. Flowers remained one of his favorite subjects. Only now the flowers were different. When most people look at water lily flowers, they appear white. After his cataract surgery, Monet’s blue-tuned pigments could grab some of the UV light bouncing off of the petals. He started to paint the flowers a whitish-blue."
At this time Concetta Antico is the only authenticated Tetrachromat Artist on earth.
Concetta embodies “The Perfect Storm” for the human realization of Tetrachromatic color vision. Her rare genotype provides for a fourth receptor in her eyes.
Regular human vision may resolve a maximum of 1 million colors.
Concetta’s Tetrachromatic potential reaches up to 100 million colors.

Romeo and Juliet by Concetta Antico