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Color Analogies April 20, 2008

Posted by rutledj1 in Uncategorized.
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There is a section in our textbook that says it would be impossible to explain colors to someone who was truly color blind.  I would have to disagree.  There are a number of ways that I can think of that use our different modalities to relate color perception to things that even someone who does not see color could understand.

First, lets consider touch.  I could relate colors like red and blue to feeling a burning fire or a freezing glass of water.  I could then continue to use the spectrum of heat to correlate to different intensities of light.  Green might resemble room temperature, or yellow could be set the warmth of the sun on a spring day.  You could also say that colors, like temperatures, can be mixed to get something in between.  Hot and cold mix in order to make a room temperature color.

Sound could also be used to relate color to a blind person.  Just imagine that different tones represent different colors.  Depending on the frequency and the length of the wavelength of the sound, the tone will change.  In this same set of mind, colors change depending on the frequency of light reflecting from an object.

Smell and taste could again be used to demonstrate to a blind person how color might be perceived.  You could say that just like the basic tastes (such as bitter, sweet, salty, etc.) there are basic colors of light (red, yellow, blue).  You can mix the tastes or colors so they work well together, or alter the perception of one another.  We even know that some tastes can cancel others out in a similar way that blue and yellow create white.

So, although people who are color blind might not actually be able to see objects in color, at least they can have an idea of what the experience might be like.

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