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Colour is in the eye of the beholderColour is in the eye of the beholder

(7:56) Do you see what I see? Apparently, colour vision is not something you are born with. Fascinating BBC Horizon clip shows the link between colour and language, as demonstrated by tests with the Himba tribe of Namibia.

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Guest: BaffledBiologist (1103 days ago)
Interesting - But they may have the correlation exactly the wrong way round. If the Himba have a different genetic history from those of us in the west, then they may not have the same colour perception due to spectrum sensitive cones in the eye. This means that they may physically be unable to distinguish easily between certain colours. If that is the case, then they will have developed less words for the colours that they can see. Not the limited vocabulary meaning that they cannot see the difference - But the limited difference means a limited vocabulary.
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Interesting - But they may have the correlation exactly the wrong way round. If the Himba have a different genetic history from those of us in the west, then they may not have the same colour perception due to spectrum sensitive cones in the eye. This means that they may physically be unable to distinguish easily between certain colours. If that is the case, then they will have developed less words for the colours that they can see. Not the limited vocabulary meaning that they cannot see the difference - But the limited difference means a limited vocabulary.
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Guest:  (168 days ago)
Latest comment:

You are correct that this would be a less complicated explanation, but it is also an easily testable one. I highly doubt that this hasn't been tested for. Also the Himba aren't genetically isolated enough from other humans to diverge that much from us/other South African tribes. Also the Himba aren't the only tribe that have been studied concerning colour perception and language, a good place to start with how the debate has been going on is the Wikipedia article for "Linguistic relativity and the color naming debate"

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You are correct that this would be a less complicated explanation, but it is also an easily testable one. I highly doubt that this hasn't been tested for. Also the Himba aren't genetically isolated enough from other humans to diverge that much from us/other South African tribes. Also the Himba aren't the only tribe that have been studied concerning colour perception and language, a good place to start with how the debate has been going on is the Wikipedia article for "Linguistic relativity and the color naming debate"

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Guest:  (1103 days ago)
I agree totally. You're hypothesis seems far simpler and therefore far more likely (Occam's razor)
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I agree totally. You're hypothesis seems far simpler and therefore far more likely (Occam's razor)
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Guest:  (568 days ago)
Agreed!
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Agreed!
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Guest: TinyNads (1103 days ago)
And are we all colourblind when we cannot easily distinguish between the two green colours that they can distinguish quite easily? I think the point of the two experiments removes a colour blind gene possibility from the equation. Real colourblind people have the language, but still cannot distinguish certain colours easily. I think what is being suggested is that due to the words we use for different colours, the brain developes to differentiate those colours from each other. The brains of the Namibian tribe have developed to emphasise different boundaries to differentiate the colours that their language describes. What an interesting subject!
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And are we all colourblind when we cannot easily distinguish between the two green colours that they can distinguish quite easily? I think the point of the two experiments removes a colour blind gene possibility from the equation. Real colourblind people have the language, but still cannot distinguish certain colours easily. I think what is being suggested is that due to the words we use for different colours, the brain developes to differentiate those colours from each other. The brains of the Namibian tribe have developed to emphasise different boundaries to differentiate the colours that their language describes. What an interesting subject!
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Guest: Bollo (1102 days ago)
It sucks that you have to watch an ad just to add a comment or vote in the polls.
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It sucks that you have to watch an ad just to add a comment or vote in the polls.
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Guest:  (1102 days ago)
I couldn't see the different green one at all, but I did see 3 nipples during the documentary! RESULT
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I couldn't see the different green one at all, but I did see 3 nipples during the documentary! RESULT
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Guest: jam (1099 days ago)
colour is on a wheel, (i.e. green = blue plus yellow, etc). Colour is actually on a linear spectrum, not a wheel. The two are incompatible. This is basically the same effect - our colour vision is a construct.
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colour is on a wheel, (i.e. green = blue plus yellow, etc). Colour is actually on a linear spectrum, not a wheel. The two are incompatible. This is basically the same effect - our colour vision is a construct.
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Guest: vanhetgoor (318 days ago)
It there is a tone of let's say 440 Hz and a tone of 400 Hz, then a tone of 40 Hz can be heard. The same goes with light. On a bleu wall red light look dark brown. On a yellow wall bleu light looks green. Light filtered though coloured glass gives an other colour, but maybe there are some people who can sense some of the original basic colours, like mixing is with audio tones. Maybe colour is a symphony of different sorts of light, not a linear spectrum of up going frequencies, maybe that the view of frequencies is only theoretical. Maybe there is more then we can see!
Original comment
It there is a tone of let's say 440 Hz and a tone of 400 Hz, then a tone of 40 Hz can be heard. The same goes with light. On a bleu wall red light look dark brown. On a yellow wall bleu light looks green. Light filtered though coloured glass gives an other colour, but maybe there are some people who can sense some of the original basic colours, like mixing is with audio tones. Maybe colour is a symphony of different sorts of light, not a linear spectrum of up going frequencies, maybe that the view of frequencies is only theoretical. Maybe there is more then we can see!
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Guest:  (1103 days ago)
Maybe the entire tribe is color blind.
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Maybe the entire tribe is color blind.
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Guest: John (1101 days ago)
Why not, there's a whole tribe of 300m in the USA that can't spell "colour" correctly.
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Why not, there's a whole tribe of 300m in the USA that can't spell "colour" correctly.
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Guest:  (370 days ago)
We're sorry that we're not French, the 300 million of us apologize profusely.
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We're sorry that we're not French, the 300 million of us apologize profusely.
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Guest: asdd (308 days ago)
it's spelled that way by the British and in turn Canadians, dumbass
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it's spelled that way by the British and in turn Canadians, dumbass
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Guest: Kinboat (298 days ago)
Most words that end in -our in England are spelled that way since the Norman conquest to reflect the Old French pronunciation.
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Most words that end in -our in England are spelled that way since the Norman conquest to reflect the Old French pronunciation.
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Guest: bexx (226 days ago)

One's a bigger dumbass if one cant distinguish between a joke and a real coumment. But then, that makes it all the more entertaining. =D

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One's a bigger dumbass if one cant distinguish between a joke and a real coumment. But then, that makes it all the more entertaining. =D

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Guest: Kamikaze (1103 days ago)
It could be cultural as well...for a tribe that depends greatly on hunting, for example, being able to distinguish varying shades of what we call "green" is highlyuseful, so their descriptions of colour would reflect that. A follow-up test to this would be to "adopt" a Himba infant and do the same tests 5 years later...this would rule out the genetics element.
Original comment
It could be cultural as well...for a tribe that depends greatly on hunting, for example, being able to distinguish varying shades of what we call "green" is highlyuseful, so their descriptions of colour would reflect that. A follow-up test to this would be to "adopt" a Himba infant and do the same tests 5 years later...this would rule out the genetics element.
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Guest: Stevovo1980 (502 days ago)
Oh MY God when will people start reading outside their own disciplines. THis idea is about FIFTY years old in linguistic anthropology. And has been partially disproven.
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Oh MY God when will people start reading outside their own disciplines. THis idea is about FIFTY years old in linguistic anthropology. And has been partially disproven.
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