In one excerpt, the podcast outlined the biological differences in dogs, birds, humans, insects, and the mantis shrimp in order to give an example as to how many possible combinations of colors can be visible, and where humans are within that range. It's safe to say the findings completely tore down what I thought was my colorful world, and made me feel blind to the actual visual spectrum. Without butchering the episode too much, the findings made me want to learn more about how color is perceived, classified, interpreted, and how that could possibly impact my personal life and career as a designer.
These results made me feel average, if not slightly above average, but another study peaked my interest further. After listening to the Radio Lab episode, and understanding that the perception of color is influenced by vocabulary, the idea that we could train our eyes to see different gradients or hues was fascinating. Especially so, due to the fact that those different classifications can be solely reliant on having a word for it.
In the above video, the Himba are given a visual test to point out which color is different, and cannot distinguish a bright blue square from the apparently obvious green ones surrounding it. Likewise, we are unable to distinguish a bright green square from the apparently obvious other green squares surrounding it, but they can. The experiment suggests that this is due to the fact that the Himba tribe have different names for colors, and some of their names incorporate more than one of our color classification. It is harder for them to see blues, because they do not have a word for it.
These reality shattering experiments put me in my place as a tiny part of the known universe, but more importantly I now have a new perspective of the possible.