Color Vision

Color vision refers to the neurophysiological ability to perceive color, especially in humans.

Each of three types of light receptors, called cones, located in the retina of the eye, recognizes different specific ranges of wavelengths of light as blue, green, or red. From the cones, color signals pass via neurons along the visual pathway, where they are combined in various ways to create perception of the full spectrum of roughly 5 million shades of color.

Because each person's neurons are unique, each individual sees color slightly differently. Color blindness, an inherited condition that affects men significantly more often than women, has two varieties: monochromats lack all cone receptors and cannot see any color other than shades of grey; dichromats lack either red-green or blue-yellow cone receptors and cannot perceive hues in those respective ranges. Another phenomenon, known as color weakness or anomalous trichromat, refers to a condition in which a person can perceive a specific color, but needs greater intensity of the associated wavelength in order to see it appropriately.

See also Perception; Vision .

Resources

BOOKS

Gazzaniga, Michael S. The Cognitive Neurosciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

Malacara, Daniel. Color Vision and Colorimetry: Theory and Applications. Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2011.

Skusevich, Darius. Color Perception: Physiology, Processes, and Analysis. New York: Nova Science, 2010.

Storozhuk, Anna. Color: Ontological Status and Epistemic Role. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science, 2010.

WEBSITES

Beck, Melinda. “New Outlook on Colorblindness.” Wall Street Journal: Life and Culture. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204349404578100942150867894 (accessed September 16, 2015).

NCBI Resources. “Cones and Color Vision.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11059/ (accessed September 16, 2015).

Time: Health & Family. “Why Humans Have Color Vision, and Other Qs & As with Neuroscientist Mark Changizi.” http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/06/why-humans-have-color-vision-and-other-qs-as-withneuroscientist-mark-changizi/ (accessed September 16, 2015).