Color Vision and the Brain: How Color is Created Within the Mind

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Color Vision and the Brain: How Color is Created Within the Mind
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“Color is an interplay between light, the eyes, and the brain. The visual system develops early on so when a fetus is in utereo, it potentially has the capability to respond to light and dark shades accordingly. Color vision however does not present until after birth. In the first few days of life, an infant’s vision is blurred and muted in terms of color, only able to recognize highly intense colors (e.g. bright red chair) allowing a baby to notice the difference between the brightly colored object and everything else which appears shaded in various tones and hues of grey, black, and white. Scientists now understand this because various scientific studies have examined babies using eye tracking technology and desaturating colors on screen until babies no longer notice the colors present. Desaturated blues and yellows are the most common colors to go unnoticed by babies which occurs because evolution has deemed it is beneficial to be less sensitive to the blue- yellow axis because of daylight and the way in which colors shift throughout the day. This adaptation causes babies to be less distracted by small shifts in daylight lighting. Pastels are difficult for babies to see but intensely bright colors capture their attention better than any other kind. By 6 months, infants can see the entire color spectrum, but only when those colors are saturated 100%. It is not until late adolescence that color vision becomes fully functioning, but degrading after the age of 30.

Color does not exist in the world, it only exists within the mind. The reason for this is that light hits an object which causes specific wavelengths to become absorbed and reflected, with the wavelengths which are reflected landing upon the retina and therefore able to become recognized by the eye. This means that color is a construct of the mind and does not truly exist anywhere outside of the brain. Color has been evolved as a useful perceptional tool, but it is not an accurate perception of the universe as a whole. This is why color is subjective, with some able to see intense colors and others only able to see desaturated, muted colors.

Context is everything, this is why optical illusions are so effective, as they change the context of an image and then revert it back, which makes something appear one way, and then suddenly another (e.g. 2 different shaded tiles, the first darker and the second lighter, with the colors being identical other than the shadow shone upon the first tile which makes it appear lighter). Scientists”

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