Tetrachromats

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Birds and insects are tetrachromats, which means they have four cones that allow them to detect color. According to Lilienfeld, "There's preliminary evidence that a small portion of women are tetrachromats, meaning their eyes contain four types of cones: the three cones types most of us possess plus an additional cone for a color between red and green" (144). In an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled, "Some women may see 100 million colors, thanks to their genes," Mark Roth agrees that it is possible for some women to be tetrachromats (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06256/721190-114.stm). The pigments of green and red cones are on the X chromosomes, so it would be possible for women to be able to obtain four cones (Roth). Jay Neitz, a renowned color vision researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, "estimated that 2 percent to 3 percent of the world's women may have the kind of fourth cone that lies smack between the standard red and green cones, which could give them a colossal range" (Roth). The average person's range includes the ability to see one million hues. Tetrachromats, conversely, could potentially be able to see 100 million different colors (Roth). The possibility that some women could potentially be able to distinguish 100 million shades is truly interesting.

This concept is, additionally, intriguing because women tend to identify many different shades of colors, calling them magenta or espresso, whereas men typically would refer to those colors as pink and brown. An article in TrèsSugar ™ titled "Color, Gender, and the Truth About Pink and Girls" discusses this same idea (http://www.tressugar.com/Do-Men-Women-See-Colors-Differently-14394573). A picture from the article clearly summarizes the idea:

ColorDescription.jpg

Is the reason men and women describe colors differently because many woman are tetrachromats? Or is that claim to extraordinary for the current evidence?

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This page contains a single entry by bens0432 published on October 2, 2011 11:37 PM.

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