Do we all see the same colors?

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Do you ever wonder if the colors you see are the same as the colors your friends see? For example, everyone says that strawberries are red, but what if the red you see is different from the red seen by others? Are these differences in color possible? It depends on who you ask!

We see color because of light waves, which are absorbed and reflected by the items around us. When we see this light, special cells at the back of our eyes called cones tell our brains about the light and allow us to see colors

However, there are situations in which people see colors differently. For example, those who are color blind may have difficulty seeing certain colors because their cones do not function properly. Colors such as red and green may look the same to them. But what about two people who are not color blind? Do they see the same colors? 

Some scientists think that all people do see colors the same way! For example, in one study, there were differences between the cones in the eyes of the participants, but they were all able to see the same shade of yellow! However, other scientists are quick to point out that since our brains play such an important role in seeing color, factors such as a person’s memory of a color may affect how he or she sees it! In other words, there’s more to the question of seeing colors than meets the eye!

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Do your friends and family members see the same colors you do? Time to test it out! Make a color wheel by cutting out a circle, then coloring different pizza slice-shaped sections in the hues of the rainbow. Now walk around your home or yard with a friend or family member and ask questions such as “What color is that bucket?” or “What color is that pillow?,” making sure you stick with the colors on your wheel.   

    Instead of just shouting out the answer to the color questions, point to the color on the wheel that matches the color of the item in your home or yard. Are you and the other player pointing to the same colors? In other words, do you see the same colors?!  

    To make a trickier version of the game, focus on one or two colors when you make your color wheel. For example, instead of coloring a section for each color of the rainbow, make different shades of one or two colors, such as lavender, plum and periwinkle for purple!

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