Color perception

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Color perception

How does our visual system decide if something is a face? Some automated face-detecting software uses color as one cue that something is a face. For example Apple’s iPhoto has no trouble determining that there are two faces in this color picture: That’s Nora in the back, and her cousin Ginger in front. In this…

The other day, our car wouldn’t start and Jim had to ask a neighbor over to help him jump-start it. There was much rushing in and out of the house looking for flashlights and other tools to help get the job done. After the neighbor left, Jim wanted to drive somewhere and couldn’t find the…

New parents can come up with a seemingly endless array of vexing questions about their infants, from the best brand of stroller to the ideal song to sing them to sleep. The questions begin well before the child is born: what type of clothing should you purchase? What kind of crib? One question Greta and…

What is so mesmerizing about pointillist paintings like Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon at La Grande Jatte? At first, we’re impressed by the technical virtuosity of the work. It’s an immense painting that Greta and I visited many times when we were in college in Chicago (and now, whenever we return for a visit): As you can…

[This entry was originally posted in April 2007] The Beck effect is difficult to replicate online, because it involves testing reaction times. However, I think I’ve figured out a way to approximate the effect. This movie (Quicktime required) will show you how it works. Just follow the directions on the opening screen: Now, which letter…

[Originally posted in May, 2007] “I just didn’t see him” is a claim that’s repeated over and over in accident reports. Drivers earnestly claim that they simply didn’t notice the bicycle/pedestrian/motorcycle they crashed into. The claim is made so frequently that certainly there must be a grain of truth to it. Yet it certainly isn’t…

Take a look at this amazing illusion created by Arthur Shapiro (you’ll need the latest version of Flash Player to see it): You’re looking at two donut-shaped figures whose “holes” are gradually changing color from black to white and back again. It appears that the holes are changing in an opposite pattern — when one…

Do verbal metaphors affect what we see?

Take a look at this video (QuickTime required). The screen will turn white for 1/2 second. Then a word will appear for about 1.5 seconds. Pay attention to the particular shade of gray the word is printed in. Next, a strip of five different grey squares will appear. Which square matches the color of the…

A continuation of our “greatest hits” from past Cognitive Daily postings: [originally posted on May 9, 2006] The Stroop Effect is one of the most-studied phenomena in psychology. The test is easy to administer, and works in a variety of contexts. The simplest way to see how it works is just to look the following…

This is a guest post by Jonathan Leathers, one of Greta’s top student writers for Spring 2007. Take a look at this word: MONDAY What color do you see? Red? Blue? While you may see nothing unusual, some people report being able to perceive colors associated with different days of the week when they are…