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How we perceive colors


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Here is some food for thought for all content creators. I was trying to leanr why the vikings had the same word for black and for blue and stumbled across this:

https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-couldn-t-even-see-the-colour-blue-until-modern-times-research-suggests

We all know about color blindness of course and most people probably know that color perception depends a lot on the level of light. But according to this article there is also a very strong cultural factor determining which colors and nuances we are able to distinguish between. that's something well worth considering when we're creating on a multi-cultural paltform like SL:

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I have difficulty giving directions to other people, or receiving directions from them. I grew up in a household where, because Dad was nutty, cardinal directions were the norm. While walking through the woods, he might say "turn south here" rather than "turn left". If you were a passenger in my car and, as we approached a busy intersection, said "turn left!", I'd probably keep going straight. Similarly, if you asked me where I left my glasses, I might say "east of my computer".

I'm also comfortable giving and receiving landmark based directions in places where landmarks are inexplicably unfamiliar to people. "Walk towards the lake" is natural for me but not for friends who, for reasons I can't explain, seem oblivious to where Lake Michigan is at any given moment, even when they can hear it roaring. Well, they don't actually hear it roaring. They hear a sound, but don't know what it is, so it provides no orientation cues for them. I don't even think about it. You could plop me out in my yard blindfolded and I'd know within seconds which way I'm pointed. It's very rare for me not to know which way is north, even when indoors.

http://nautil.us/blog/5-languages-that-could-change-the-way-you-see-the-world

A long, long, time ago I abandoned the notion that my experiences are comparable to others. I am able to exchange ideas with people fairly efficiently, but there are things I see, hear, taste, smell, feel and think that are simply too difficult to communicate. And when I try, I get funny looks.

It's a wonderful world, and you people are missing so much of it!

;-).

ETA: I presume I am too.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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Once again, Maddy, I would suspect we were separated at birth, except that I think I was at least in high school before you were born.  I was somewhere in my teens before I realized that other people were not kidding when they said that they "got lost." I always seem to know what direction I am facing.  I don't know how.  I do know that I use shadows and sun angle and sky brightness, but I also know that I can tell direction at night and when I am in a tunnel.  As a result, my default directions to other people say "go west" rather than "go left," although I have learned since my teenage years that most people are grateful if I use their default system.

What this and ChinRey's color question say is that there's a lot more to reality than we expect.  We can't trust that what we sense is the same as what other people sense, or that any of us sees what's "really" there.  The Yoruba parable of the blind men and the elephant is supposed to remind us that it takes many people, sharing our own perceptions, to come even close to knowing what's around us.

Edited by Rolig Loon
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1 hour ago, Pamela Galli said:

I sometimes ask people if they can see a map in their heads. Most say no. Explains a lot.

I easily see things in my head. I easily put my head in other places. "Teleportation" is not something SL finally made possible for me. I've been doing it since childhood.

I love to look at tall buildings and make them vanish, only the inhabitants remain visible to me, going about their business completely oblivious to what I've done. I enjoy feeling perplexed that they so easily maneuver within a building I can't see, as if they have super powers.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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I scored zero. It took longer than I expected because the swapping mechanism is broken. You can't drop a hue between the leftmost two. You must drag the second hue from the left to the right to exchange it for another. Once I figured that out, I was able to scoot right along.

Although I hate picking paint colors, I have a fairly stable eye. When I was a teen, I painted my basement craft room a shade of green I saw at our local furniture store. The paint company eventually was purchased by Sherwin Williams and all the paint colors were retired.

Many years later, I wanted to paint one of my guest bedrooms green, and bought a swatch book from the local Ben Moore dealer. I found a shade I liked and got a gallon.

Last year, I needed to touch up a boo-boo in the basement, but had no green paint left from 30 years ago. The repair was in a very visible spot, but I thought I'd try to feather in the bedroom green until I could custom match and repaint the entire wall, or room. The bedroom paint matched so well I can't find the repair. It was never my intent to pick the same green decades years later, it just happened.

I very recently had my main bathroom tiled from floor to chair-rail with a light green marble. Last week, I pulled out my Ben Moore swatch book to find a matching wall color for above the chair rail, which turned out to be... the bedroom paint. I also needed a deeper green for the crown moulding and door jamb. That turned out to be the color of the front door, which hasn't changed since the 1950s.

I apparently have no imagination.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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31 minutes ago, arton Rotaru said:

"Too much green can cause people to become ...lethargic. Too little green can cause feelings of apathy...".
Lethargy and Apathy are synonyms. If you're feeling one or the other, how do you know whether to add or subtract green?

"Green gemstones are believed to help create balance, promote change or growth, increase feelings of hopefulness and optimism, and break the emotional demands of others."
Who believes this? If I have any belief about green gemstones, it's that they're probably green.

"The term “green with envy” stands for feelings of jealousy and envy."
This doesn't even rise to the level of tautology.

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/color-symbolism-and-meanings-around-the-world
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/smartertravel/what-colors-mean-in-other_b_9078674.html
https://www.lifewire.com/visual-color-symbolism-chart-by-culture-4062177

I've seen research on the psychological underpinnings of color, but suspect it's largely crap, done by people who are oblivious to cultural influences and the effect of language on perception. As Steven Pinker notes, the idea brought here for discussion by Chinrey throws a bomb into the party where people cheerfully believed some things were universal.

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38 minutes ago, arton Rotaru said:

Actually I was about to post the movie poster of the Charlton Heston movie "Soylent Green". But I went for something less terrifying related to the color green instead. Which was that link, which came up first on Google. :ph34r:

Charlton Heston was at his most terrifying as president of the NRA.

;-).

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5 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I've seen research on the psychological underpinnings of color, but suspect it's largely crap,

I have a crappy neurological system and am prone to seizures. (It's why I travel through SL with particles turned off and avoid places with rapidly animating textures.) In learning how to cope with this I've gotten very good at separating out physical reactions to physical stimuli from emotional matters, and also recognising how they affect each other. So when I say that blue light sometimes calms this all right down, it's based in repeatable observations. It doesn't always work, but when it does it's like throwing a switch.

You know how quiet and calm it feels in an aquarium? That's the blue light. I get that same feeling when I pull a loosely-woven blue curtain over my window. Colours do affect us.

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7 hours ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

I have a crappy neurological system and am prone to seizures. (It's why I travel through SL with particles turned off and avoid places with rapidly animating textures.) In learning how to cope with this I've gotten very good at separating out physical reactions to physical stimuli from emotional matters, and also recognising how they affect each other. So when I say that blue light sometimes calms this all right down, it's based in repeatable observations. It doesn't always work, but when it does it's like throwing a switch.

You know how quiet and calm it feels in an aquarium? That's the blue light. I get that same feeling when I pull a loosely-woven blue curtain over my window. Colours do affect us.

Yes, colors do affect us. But I wouldn't be at all surprised to find there are people for whom blue has the opposite effect it has on you. I'm one.

Apple products have a display effect called "Night Shift" that warms the display during evening hours to help people get to sleep...

https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/29/11326194/apple-night-shift-blue-light-sleep

When I'm out at night, I love the amber glow of incandescent lights in/on houses. When I encounter the harsh blue-white light of a mercury-vapor yard lamp or a daylight fluorescent bulb in a lamp post, I'm aggravated. I dislike cool white car headlights approaching me on the road, but will have to make my peace with them because my next car will probably have them. I'm more sensitive to this than any of my friends. My home (I've lived here since birth) has two fireplaces, and I regularly have fires on my patio, so my lifelong familiarity with and appreciation for the warm glow of a fire (as you've all seen) may have have something to do with this.

Music works the same way. When I visit my dear Iranian friends and listen to their favorite music, I must often ask them if the song is upbeat or melancholy. Most traditional Iranian songs sound melancholy to me, though I know from being told so that some of them are joyous, upbeat, ribald or just plain silly. Similarly, they can listen to favorite tunes of mine and not understand why I start grinning because of an unexpected chord/key change or melodic snippet from another song that creates a juxtaposition or double-entendre.

Outside of research like that showing that light's spectral content affects melatonin production, I'm skeptical of claims that certain colors/sounds/tastes/smells/textures have universal effects. Does blue calm you? Yes. Does it calm me? No.

ETA: I've been waffling over paint color for the last guest bedroom that needs painting. I've been considering blue because it's nowhere else in my house. Maybe I'll do a custom mix and call it "Bitsy Blue".

;-).

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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You may be right about personal differences in the way we react to colors.  I, too, have an almost visceral gut reaction to those horrible laser beam headlights, but I know other people seem to like them.  To me, the blue-white color puts my nerves on edge.  We certainly do have personal color preferences, so I have to believe that any possible universal responses can be sublimated by our own.

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Let's not get into what that awful awful white-blue fluorescent lighting does to my brain. It's quite different from blue glasses or a blue curtain over the window. I have to use an app that yellows and darkens the tint of the computer screen; normal is far too white-blue and far too painful for me to cope with.

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Certain orange shades when on an LCD monitor trigger an annoying fight/flight response. CRT does not have the same effect nor anything similar in RL, which is good else the LED xmas lamps would have driven me doolally. Blue 'laser' makes me uneasy so had a bit of a problem trying out win 10.

(Surprised I got a zero on that test and took about 30 seconds but as the site says it is easier with a comparison strip. I doubt I could have done it trying to match that sort of gradation with discrete samples.  )

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/24/2018 at 9:26 AM, ChinRey said:

Here is some food for thought for all content creators. I was trying to leanr why the vikings had the same word for black and for blue and stumbled across this:

https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-couldn-t-even-see-the-colour-blue-until-modern-times-research-suggests

We all know about color blindness of course and most people probably know that color perception depends a lot on the level of light. But according to this article there is also a very strong cultural factor determining which colors and nuances we are able to distinguish between. that's something well worth considering when we're creating on a multi-cultural paltform like SL:

Considering that most color exists on a spectrum (the spectrum of visible light) I'd venture that divisions of that spectrum were not culturally defined in the same way as they are today.  Tetrochromats can distinguish between 100 million colors, most for which our culture has no "words" describing those subtle shades between red and green.  The colors are there, our eyes are picking them up, but we use terms that closely matches colors we find in that part of the spectrum.  The Vikings "seeing" blue as a neutral color makes a lot of sense, even today we use bluing to "whiten" clothes, we describe nearly desaturated blues as "cool grays", and depending on lighting it can be a little difficult to distinguish navy blue from black.  I don't believe the Vikings were physically incapable of seeing blue, I'd suspect they simply didn't distinguish it as a separate color much like Japanese and the color green

Another fun question... is Magenta/Fuschia really a color?

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On 24 March 2018 at 1:26 PM, ChinRey said:

I was trying to leanr why the vikings had the same word for black and for blue

One of the big problems with studies like that is that they are often undertaken by people with the historical knowledge of a concussed haddock...

I've heard pseudo intellectual asshats state that "the colour medieval people called red is what we today call orange, they didnt have real red...".

Then you grab the idiot by the sc ruff of the neck, drag them kicking and screaming into an Art Gallery and slam their face into the armoured glass over a 20 ft x 15 ft painting dated 1487, so they can clearly see the red doublet, in a classic 1480's Italian style on one of the mercenaries in the crowd scene, and you say "They didn't have red? So what fugging colour is that doublet academia boy?"

Black dye didn't really exist in much of the world until the mid 19th C, when German chemical firms like BASF and AGFA started making synthetic dyes based on coal tar derivatives.

Prior to that, 'black' usually meant "very dark blue" or "very dark red" or "very dark blue AND very dark red", a double dye process. Vegetable based dyes such as indigo, woad, madder, etc., which were not that colour fast, and tended to fade rapidly.

I used to own a pair of sunglasses, goth ones, with dark black looking lenses. Due to the way the lenses had been tinted, I noticed that I could  peer over the top of them at Goths around me and see wall to wall black clothing, but seen through the shades, they were dark red, dark blue, dark brown, and almost NEVER "Black"

Vikings calling stuff blue? Quite normal, blue was the only black dye they had for most things.



 




 

Edited by Klytyna
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