Philosophers have recently studied color perception to identify if your color spectrum could be completely inverted from someone else. We can all agree that a banana and a lemon are both yellow, but do we all see the same yellow? What one person sees as yellow, another person may see as blue, but they think it’s yellow because that is what they have always been told. Two people may call a color the same name, but see different colors.
From a young age, colors are taught through visuals. We are told and shown what colors are in art class or with worksheets that were to be colored in elementary school. Of course there are always arguments on whether a shade of a color is more of a blue or a green, but for the colors in the rainbow, we call them the same name. In an article from UCSB Science Line, an anonymous scientist writes: “If your parents taught you to call apples “red” and my parents taught me to call apples “blue” then, when looking at the same apple, we would label them different color!”
Scientists believe that color is not predetermined, instead it is shaped by the outside world. Mood, memories, and feelings are also factors of how you see different shades. Physical perception is the biggest contributing factor in determining what you see. Inside of your eye is something called a photo receptor, which is basically a structure that responds to light and sends a message to your body to react. Photo receptors vary in the wavelengths at which they are most sensitive. Photo receptors are most sensitive to red, blue, and green colors and depending on how sensitive your photo receptors are, depicts what color you see. Your red photo receptor, or your long-wavelength cone could be sensitive to wavelengths of light around while 567 nanometers while the person next to you has a long-wavelength cone most sensitive to light of 564 nanometers. It may not seem like much, but any shift in the peak of sensitivity of your photo receptors changes how you view colors. People may perceive light with different physical properties because everyone’s photo receptors are different, which is what causes us to see colors differently than other people do.