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Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
talash

In China? And Russia?

Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to conduct a *scientific* study of color and his model represents the *contiguous* range of colors in the spectrum. Now, is the Chinese model as contiguous? Or, given some shades from the infinity that exist in the range, a *chinese* person would fail to relate them to one of the five colors that are supposed to represent everything?

I'm more interested in what they believe themselves to see. :)

and what are your conclusions about those people who see the rainbow differently?

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b

"was the first person to conduct a *scientific* study of color and his model represents the *contiguous* range of colors in the spectrum."
I'm not trying to argue which standard is better. I'm saying that
a) there are plenty of different standards
b) most of them are not Newton's
c) I'm interested in understanding, not comparing them

"and what are your conclusions about those people who see the rainbow differently?"
Not nearly enough data as yet, but there are some things:
a) going to kindergarden does not help
b) having a dislike of authority does
c) being male improves your chances of seeing black and grey
d) being female improves your chances of seeing fine shades of blue and green

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
talash

there are plenty of different standards

What people in your responses that do not see the standard colors claim to be seeing cannot be called a standard because they are inconsistent even with their own very selves over time, not to mention with other people-- and a standard that different people do not agree on is an oxymoron. There are plenty of different standards pertaining to color and its representation, such as RGB, HSV and CMYK etc and these are pretty well-defined rigorous mathematical models which can and are used to represent up to and beyond 16 million shades of color, which is about what the human eye can distinguish. As for perception-- well, we have agreed that individual perception of color, as of anything, may vary. Moreover, the colors of each individual rainbow may vary depending on the setting and, like I said, if we wear green glasses, we might as well see the Wizard of Oz pop up, but still.

I'm not trying to argue which standard is better

I am. Because, the Chinese standard set aside, I believe that the standard that we have is better than naming arbitrary colors from the top of the head. I am ready to accept the Chinese or any other standard given that it can be defined with equivalent rigor to what I use. As for naming arbitrary colors from the top of the head in response to the question "what colors are there in a rainbow"-- I perceive it as lack of education. Because, for example, black is, strictly speaking, not a color and particularly in the context of a rainbow it is ridiculous. I am all for pluralism, but that does not mean that some ideas aren't just wrong. I mean, this is equivalent to saying: "some people perceive the world as flat. this has been so since ancient times in many cultures, some of which also maintain that it stands on four elephants on a turtle. we should respect and tolerate this belief and understanding it is very interesting." They are very close to that in the USA (cf: theory of evolution vs intelligent design). So I say-- no, naming a bunch of colors from the top of the head as something representing the rainbow is not equivalent to my standard. It is something usually referred to as "bullshit."

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
mme_n_b

"What people in your responses that do not see the standard colors claim to be seeing cannot be called a standard because they are inconsistent even with their own very selves over time"
You just made an axiom from a hypothesis. Try to resist the lure.
My guess (based on admittedly insufficient data) that over time the basic make-up of every person's rainbow will be stable with minor changes (e. g. four shades of green rather than five, or slightly different five). This basic make-up is the individual standard, i. e. every person sees a multitude of rainbows, which group themselves into what may be called a platonic idea of this person's rainbow. Individual rainbows, in turn, group themselves into a "group rainbow" (these are the ones which I find particularly interesting). An example of a group rainbow is a national rainbow, we can safely say "the Russian rainbow has seven colors" because on average that's what the Russians see. These, in turn, will group themselves into a true rainbow, and it is possible (but unlikely) that this rainbow will be the Newtonian one.


"There are plenty of different standards pertaining to color and its representation"
I think you may be missing the point. I'm not interested in representing color. That's not what the survey is about. It's about perceiving color.

"we have agreed that individual perception of color, as of anything, may vary. Moreover, the colors of each individual rainbow may vary depending on the setting"
Which kind of ends the argument right there. Here's a game to play: find a large grouping of small multi-colored lights (like a New Year tree). Look at it quickly (no more than 5 seconds) before breakfast. Turn away, and write down on a piece of paper approximately how many lights of each color you saw, or at least the proportions of different colors. Have breakfast. Briefly look at the lights again. Write down the result. Compare. Guess what the result is?


"I'm not trying to argue which standard is better

I am"
Really? With whom?

"As for naming arbitrary colors from the top of the head in response to the question "what colors are there in a rainbow"-- I perceive it as lack of education"
You are wrong. No one is so uneducated that they've never seen a rainbow. Nor (as I mentioned above) is the question "what are the colors of the rainbow", it's carefully framed to be closer to "what colors do you see in the rainbow". See the difference?

" I am all for pluralism, but that does not mean that some ideas aren't just wrong."
It is pointless to say that someone is wrong about their sensory perceptions. Especially if a number of individual somebodies have the same perceptions.

"So I say-- no, naming a bunch of colors from the top of the head as something representing the rainbow is not equivalent to my standard. It is something usually referred to as "bullshit.""
If you want to continue this (or any) conversation with me you will have to do so within my definition of politeness. I, in turn, will attempt to meet yours as soon as you show it to me. This last quoted statement does not fit within my personal definition of politeness. Therefore I will not answer it and, if repeated in this form, will end the conversation.







Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
pretol: Reality vs Perception

People drew the colors of rainbow in bands before there was Newton (so Newton didn't invent what Chinese didn't, and Chinese didn't have some secret color wheel that was different from everybody else's). Every person will see R(ed),G(reen),B(lue) as the major color groups. It's not a matter of opinion or perception, it's a matter of the fact the the human eye has 3 color sensors and they happen to be RED, GREEN AND BLUE, and human brain automatically calibrates to perceive these as major color bands (if you raise a child under red light, I suppose you can get a child that won't be able to perceive other colors, even if he/she has the sensors). From then on, people will fill in the in-between with whatever vocabulary they have. The list of colors that people will list is either psychologically altered, memory altered, linguistically altered.

Your test (naming rainbow colors) has dual nature. Because you're not asking people to look at a rainbow and name the colors, you're not really asking them WHAT THE SEE, you're asking them what THEY REMEMBER they see, and then (on top of that) you're asking them to use their vocabulary to express this memory. And that is a completely different ballpark.

Colors are well known to be inexpressible (like many things we sense: smell, sound, flavor, etc.). So your test really measures how well people remember what they actually saw, and then how many adjectives they have in their vocabulary to express what they remember. It's an interesting observation. And I think the major part of this argument is the misunderstanding of the word "SEE".

If you put different people (Chinese, Indian, Russians, Africans, Australians, even throw some monkeys in for a good measure), and point to a rainbow, they will all call out same/similar colors if you point to a point on a rainbow, so obviously they'll see the SAME RAINBOW. And they'll perceive it very similarly. Nobody will argue if there's brown in there or not, it either IS brown or it's NOT. The difference will be introduced if you let these people out and ask them what colors they remembered they saw, and some of them will have more adjectives to describe it (like some will say: "Dark Blue" and others will say "Indigo" for the same point on the rainbow). Except for monkeys, monkeys will want bananas after the demonstration, because rainbows are proven to make monkeys hungry.

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

+1.

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Reality vs Perception

"People drew the colors of rainbow in bands before there was Newton"
Don't say it to me, say it to Talash :)

"Every person will see R(ed),G(reen),B(lue) as the major color groups"
Some people (quite a few) see only two of these. Usually Red and Blue. It's genetic.

"you're asking them what THEY REMEMBER they see"
Actually, I'm asking them what they remember usually seeing.


"measures how well people remember what they actually saw, and then how many adjectives they have in their vocabulary to express what they remember"
If a person sees only one band they will not use two adjectives to describe it. If they see a red-type band they will not use a blue-type adjective to describe it. No one sees pink and calls it "indigo and celadon". You can be pretty sure that the number of the bands and their affiliations, for lack of a better word, are accurate.

"And I think the major part of this argument is the misunderstanding of the word "SEE"."
Which is why I keep pushing the words "perceive" and "remember seeing". There's a difference between that and "seeing" itself.

"If you put different people (Chinese, Indian, Russians, Africans, Australians, even throw some monkeys in for a good measure), and point to a rainbow, they will all call out same/similar colors if you point to a point on a rainbow, so obviously they'll see the SAME RAINBOW"
This is a non-argument, since in answering the survey they did the exact opposite. If someone perceives black, and someone else perceives white, pink, and green you cannot say that at any point they perceive the same thing.

"Nobody will argue if there's brown in there or not, it either IS brown or it's NOT"
There is no brown in there. That we already established a dozen posts ago. The thing we're discussing now is that some people _perceive_ brown, even though it's not there.






Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

"People drew the colors of rainbow in bands before there was Newton"

Don't say it to me, say it to Talash :)

I never said they didn't. If you re-read my post above, what I say is that Newton was the first person to conduct a scientific study of color and his model is based on rigorous measurements, as opposed to earlier models, which are based on perception only.

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

This is a non-argument, since in answering the survey they did the exact opposite. If someone perceives black, and someone else perceives white, pink, and green you cannot say that at any point they perceive the same thing.

memory and perception are not the same and your survey is more a test of what people REMEMBER, since there is no rainbow right before them and even if there is a rainbow right before them it is a test for what names of colors are commonly used in their LANGUAGE. also, if there if a dark green which someone sees and thinks of as "black" this does not necessarily mean that he and the man who names the color as "dark green" see differently, but only that they name differently.

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
pretol: Re: Reality vs Perception

Well, now we're all on the same page, and there's no disagreement. This could turn into a long conversation about explicit vs implicit communication. And we could trace all the way back and find out who misunderstood what, and how this argument came to be... :) Perceive and see are synonymous to me, "see" is "perceive visually"

Without doing a study, I'd say (good assumption) male population knows fewer adjectives for colours than female population (just the nature of guys liking ugly trucks, and girls liking dolls from the early age; girl toys being more colourful than guy toys). And I think there have been enough studies done to show that penises make creatures like different stuff than vaginas by default (mysterious, but appears to be true)

Of course I'm not talking about colour blind folks. They'll see according to their disability. Although it doesn't have to be a disability. I'm sure that if you raise a child under a red light, they'll be disabled and won't be able to see other colors even though they have the sensors to do it (brain has a tendency to connect nervously to stimulating sensors, so even though sensors are there, the brain will learn to ignore the input from the inactive sensors). Similarwise you can argue that Northern people are more sensitive to blue shades and southern people are more sensitive to red shades (probably true to a very small degree).

But as far as your study goes, it has very little to do with the rainbow (if anything at all). It's more of a memory/linguistic test. Like observing people draw, and people will draw the same thing differently. Some people can draw/paint photorealisticly, others symbolically, yet others suck completely :)

And if one puts a character and asks a group of people to draw that character. Some might see sad eyes, beautiful figure, porous skin, happy wrinkles, hump, limp, small nose, kissable lips.... And another guy barely took a glance at the figure and drew a figure stick. Is he wrong? Well depends on the context.... But overall, there maybe some true proportion in the picture, but human body is definitely not a line.

So if all those people want to mark black and white as a part of the spectrum, well it's just plain wrong. There's no black and white (or gray or brown), that means they haven't devoted enough memory space to accurately describe a rainbow. It's only as true as to say that a rainbow is many colors in a circular fashion around an axis of a light source (I don't think most people would think the geometry either). But what defines a rainbow is not that is is "many colors", but that it is a particular sequence of colors (all from 400nm to 800nm, whatever the range is), and measured by our instrument (eyes) with a high enough precision to tell at least a 1000 of them apart, and be able to name at least 20 into our crude languages.

It is also similar to the way a white man says that all chinese people look the same. These are all similar "lack of dedicated memory" scenarios. People can only memorize a particular amount of detail about a subject, and they start by memorizing the most general details to the most complex.

So what your survey seems to measure is the ignorance of the human brain (I'm using "ignorance" with no negative implications, being ignorant is an ability to ignore an uninteresting feature or a feature too complex, so it might need revisiting to memorize)...

I could mumble for pages about my fascinations with human brain.

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

*standing applause*.

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
pretol: Re: Reality vs Perception

that was not necessary... really :/

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

You just expressed my opinion better than I.

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
pretol: Correction of analogy:

My analogy of people drawing a rainbow and people drawing another human.

Remembering colors that are not there is more similar to drawing a stick figure with 3 legs (which is not human as many children will point out, because 3 legged creatures are obviously either aliens or mutants). Because technically a stick figure (2 legged, normal kind) is still a correct representation of a human being, just greatly simplified. A stick figure equivalent in the rainbow colors context is more like what most people do and that is naming 7 colors from an the infinite gamut.

Of course, my above ramble is a very right-brain approach.

3 legged stick figures are still humans, they're just weird humans. Just as rainbows with strange colors inserted. And that is a more left-brained approach, and I don't want to discredit it completely either :)

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

"But as far as your study goes, it has very little to do with the rainbow (if anything at all)."
Well - duh! Like I haven't been explaining this for two days now?

"Similarwise you can argue that Northern people are more sensitive to blue shades and southern people are more sensitive to red shades (probably true to a very small degree)."
Actually, hungry people are more sensitive to blue and fed people to red.

"So if all those people want to mark black and white as a part of the spectrum, well it's just plain wrong."

I wrote a really long answer to this one, involving Chinese people with long purple wings, which this correction made unnecessary. You got the point precisely right: what interests me is what kind of people draw "weird humans", and what kind of "weird humans" they draw, e. g. "do all fiftyish black male accountants draw stick figures with five legs?"

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
pretol: Re: Correction of analogy:

Yes yes... I'm sorry I have a tendency to ramble for pages.

Well the reason I got originally fired up is because you started with an the "authoritarian" slant, suggesting that people get brainwashed into believing that a rainbow is a certain way (kazhdyi ohotnik zhelaet... i td).

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

They do. It's not actually that way. It's an infinity of ways. Or, rather, it has the potential to be perceived in an infinity of ways. But (for instance) if you know that there's nothing between blue and purple you may not notice the extra fifty shades of blue, and your experience will be poorer.

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Re: Correction of analogy:

Define "NOT KNOW". Doesn't know what? The name of the color? Or the eye is physically incapable of seeing the color? What is "knowing a color"?

Sat, Oct. 13th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

Well, I wasn't the one who brought up knowing the name of the color. Personally, I think that every respondent knew enough to name or describe the colors they saw.

Wed, Oct. 17th, 2007 08:15 am (UTC)
talash: Re: Correction of analogy:

#FF0000 is red, but so is #FE0000 and #FA0000 and so on and so forth. I can distinguish between them, but the name for all of them is still "red". There might be a few synonyms for darker or brighter shades, but clearly there are more colors the eye can distinguish than there are names for them.

Wed, Oct. 17th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

Yes, that's why I allow qualifiers :) There is nothing in nature that cannot be expressed.