Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Color perception and handedness
Name: Carlos Rodriguez
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993


Question:
When the brain sees color, is there a difference in how a right- handed or left-handed person perceives color?



Replies:
Carlos, This is a great question, but I am not sure that there is an answer. First, how do we know what colors people actually see? The only way we can do anything is by having people match colors with standard chips, but that does not tell us that we actually see the same color, or that we store it in our brains the same way. I cannot think of a way to answer this question. You could try by getting some color samples and having different people match them to some picture. You could see if there is a difference between left and right hand people. A related question is about color blindness. In some books you should be able to find the color samples that show whether someone is color blind. It might be a good study to ask many people whether they can see the colors. Maybe with some of the new brain scans techniques, we might be able to answer it. Keep asking such good questions, you could be a great scientist.

samb


I think of immediate relevance is the anatomy of vision. First of all, colors are primarily decoded in the retina by cones, rods do black/white encoding. Next this encoded signal is processed a bit but essentially maps spatially into the occipital lobe of the brain (rear-end). Since this is the first major location for processing and since it is being spatial in an area of the brain that is not known to have hemispheric specialization, this would suggest that at least at this level there would be no difference between color perception between lefties and righties. That is not the end of the story of course, but then you start running into issues of semantics and philosophy. The occipital lobes do have connections to the rest of the brain, chances are that because of the anatomy there is no real difference in color perception between lefties and righties. In your reply I think you are hinting at the other problems involved and I agree.

Psych



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory