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Thread: Infrared and ultraviolet in the color spectrum

  1. #1 Infrared and ultraviolet in the color spectrum 
    Forum Sophomore schiz0yd's Avatar
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    If our eyes were capable of receiving the frequencies of infrared and ultraviolet light, would the increased frequency range add new unimaginable colors to our sense of sight or would it simply spread out the color spectrum as we know it, and allow us to distinguish miniscule differences in hues?


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  3. #2  
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    dunno, but we have two sets of vision, colour and monochrome, so black and white images would almost certainly be there, but for the colours? who knows though I do like your idea of spectral compression (just changing the wavelength of those we already see.

    As a matter of note I think goldfish have the widest spectral range and it does include near IR and UV .

    Incidentally from a child you have known that the sky is 'blue' thus whatever color it appears to you that color is blue, I may see the sky as you see red, but I would still call that color 'blue' - confused?


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    Interesting question. I believe there's a mutation called tetrachromism that allows a tiny percentage of people to see wavelengths that most people can't detect, thanks to an extra type of receptor in their eyes. They still perceive the same red-to-violet spectrum that everyone else does. but they often don't agree with everyone else on what color things are. For example, if everyone else thinks that an object is a certain shade of green, they might think that it was a different shade of green because they're perceiving more wavelengths coming off it that most people can't see. This doesn't mean that they always disagree on color, but they'll disagree if an object is reflecting any of the extra wavelengths that they're sensitive to.
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    Forum Freshman dickies994's Avatar
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    My guess would be the later of your question. I don't think it would add colors to what we can see but rather impact how we see the colors.

    Would we see empty clear spaces like we do now or would empty clear spaces have color to them now? Would the space between my eyes and my computer monitor appear clear or would something be there?
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    Forum Sophomore schiz0yd's Avatar
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    ah, of course. if we could see the frequencies we cannot perceive now, it would have more of an effect on our vision in the sense that there are more imperceptable frequencies coming from other sources than is coming from the same sources as the frequencies we already perceive. so as it would effectively blind us, any mutation allowing us to see these would have a negative impact on our species' fitness.

    it makes me wonder, though. if the colors we already see would be expanded across higher frequencies rather than combined with additional colors, where exactly does the ROYGBIV spectrum come from? we all know it is the color specrum within white light, but light in general is simply electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye. so maybe if our spectrum was wider, full exposure to all visible spectrums of electromagnetic radiation would perhaps give us something other than white? i dunno. it just seems odd to me that there would only be three primary colors in the entire universe. in a world of science where numerical values are infinite, it seems just wacky that the primary colors would be limited to 3. thanks for the responses so far.
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    It's not that there are 3 primary colours that exist in the universe, it's just that human sight has evolved on a 3 cone basis.

    Human cones have 3 different pigments. Each pigment responds to a different optimal wavelength of light. So, our photoreceptors interpret light as relative differences in strength of signal from cones. The three primary colours come about as a result of the pigments that are used in our cones and how our brains have evolved to interpret the signals.
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    Forum Freshman dickies994's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schiz0yd
    ah, of course. if we could see the frequencies we cannot perceive now, it would have more of an effect on our vision in the sense that there are more imperceptable frequencies coming from other sources than is coming from the same sources as the frequencies we already perceive. so as it would effectively blind us, any mutation allowing us to see these would have a negative impact on our species' fitness.

    it makes me wonder, though. if the colors we already see would be expanded across higher frequencies rather than combined with additional colors, where exactly does the ROYGBIV spectrum come from? we all know it is the color specrum within white light, but light in general is simply electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye. so maybe if our spectrum was wider, full exposure to all visible spectrums of electromagnetic radiation would perhaps give us something other than white? i dunno. it just seems odd to me that there would only be three primary colors in the entire universe. in a world of science where numerical values are infinite, it seems just wacky that the primary colors would be limited to 3. thanks for the responses so far.

    I dont think it would impact our fitness in a negative way because it would require gradual changes and modifications to our eyes and receptors, yes if we woke up tomorrow and could see into other spectrums it would raise some serous issues also there are mammals that have evolved tetrachrome and can see somewhat into other spectrums
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