Monday, March 17, 2014


Smeared Sky Sunset - Timestacks - Matt Molloy

An Anthropologist on Mars. Oliver Sacks. Vintage, 1996.
“The Case of the Colorblind Painter”

“Individuals may only “see” a color (or make a perceptual categorization) if there is an existing cultural category or name for it. But it is not clear whether such categorization may actually alter elementary color perception.” (footnote 9 on page 17)

Chromatophenes (colored rings or halos) can be induced by the magnetic stimulation of the brain (the V4)
-Semir Zeki, neurophysiologist, 1970s; found in Sacks p28

Some particular part of the brain may be discovered as the generator of color, “But color vision, in real life, is part and parcel of our total experience, is linked with our own categorizations and values, becomes for each of us a part of our lifeworld, of us. … It is at higher levels that integration occurs, that color fuses with memories, expectations, associations, and desires to make a world with resonance and meaning for each of us. (p29)

The power of expectation and mental set in the perception of color is clearly shown in those with partial red-green colorblindness. Such people may not, for example, be able to spot scarlet holly berries against the dark green foliage, or the delicate salmon-pink of dawn – until these tare pointed out to them. “Our poor impoverished cells,” says a dyschromatope of my acquaintance, “need the amplification of the intellect, knowledge, expectation, and attention in order to ‘see’ the colors that we are normally ‘blind’ to.” (footnote 20 on page 29)

Cultural Evolution of Basic Color Terms
JULY 10, 2012
Seeing Red
JUNE 3, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment