|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
Thanks for your excellent and thought-provoking question. The colors we see are based on characteristics of light that reaches our eyes, not on intrinsic properties or characteristics of objects. The colors we see is based on the wavelengths of the light that our retinas perceive. If we project pictures onto a white wall (in an otherwise dark room), the colors that we perceive are based only on the light that is reflected off the wall from the projector, not the properties of the wall. Likewise, objects that emit light, like computer and TV screens, have colors based on the light that is emitted from the screens, not from intrinsic properties of the screen. Objects that have color, like green grass or orange leaves during the fall, have that color only because certain wavelengths (or colors) of light are reflected by the objects. Green grass absorbs blue and red light, but reflect green light. Orange leaves absorb green and blue light, but reflect yellow and red light. So even though certain objects reflect certain colors of light (like green grass reflects mostly green light), the colors that we say is based on the wavelengths or color of the light that reaches our eyes, and not as a characteristic of the objects. Finally, the way we perceive different wavelengths as different colors is purely a phenomenon of our brains. So even though green grass looks vividly green and yellow leaves look yellow, all the grass or leaves are doing is reflecting different wavelengths of light. Our brains interpret that information and assign different colors to different wavelengths of light. So, while the colors that we see in different objects is based on the wavelengths of light that are reflected (or emitted) by the objects, the different colors that we actually see are generated by the brain. The colors are not properties of the objects, but, rather, our brains' perception or interpretation of different wavelengths. Again, thanks for you excellent question. Unfortunately, I didn't find any articles that really answer your question, but, here are some links that talk about color vision: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/color_and_vision.shtml http://health.howstuffworks.com/artificial-vision1.htm
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