Some Curious Facts About Color

Women and men perceive color differently. This is largely due to the X chromosome. Since women have two, it seems that they're capable of capturing certain differences in tonality that go unnoticed by men. Let's take a look at some more curious facts about color.
Some Curious Facts About Color

Last update: 17 August, 2022

Color is a physical phenomenon capable of producing various psychological effects. In a strict sense, it’s a creation of the brain because the human eye only sees three colors: red, blue, and green. All the other tones are a sophisticated mixture that’s somehow produced by the nervous system.

Newton and his classic study of the decomposition of light constituted a milestone in our knowledge of color. However, our fascination with color began much earlier. For example, when dyes were scarce, the nobility paid astronomical sums to obtain colored garments, since they were a symbol of power. They became cheaper with the discovery of America.

Nowadays, we know that color has an enormous influence on our emotional states. So much so that today, there’s an area of knowledge known as color psychology. It’s essential in certain professions, such as interior decoration.

One of the most striking points associated with color is the difficulty we have in defining it. For example, how would you describe the color violet to a blind person? Indeed, how can you convey the concept of color?  It’s one of those realities that we access through experience, not abstract knowledge. In this article, we discover some curious facts about color.

One morning one of us ran out of black, it was the birth of Impressionism.”

-Pierre-Auguste Renoir-

Some curious facts about color

As we’ve already mentioned, the human eye only captures three colors. The others are a construction of the brain. If it detects that there’s a lot of red and green, but little blue, then it interprets it as yellow, and so on. Some people have a genetic mutation that naturally captures four colors. It’s called tetrachromacy, and those who have this condition see 100 more colors than other humans.

For a long time, it was believed that the color white was the purest. Hence, many sacred elements from different religions used that tone. However, Isaac Newton discovered that white is actually the least pure since it’s made up of the sum of all the others. Incidentally, Newton was the first to make a color wheel, a palette that contained all the colors we can see.

Speaking of white, for a long time this was a color associated with the wealthiest people. Fabrics at that time, in their original color, were somewhat yellowish, so to make them white they had to be dyed. This made them more expensive. Furthermore, working people refrained from wearing this color as any sweat or dirt would easily show. Therefore, only the rich used it. In fact, in English-speaking countries, even today, the expression ‘white collar worker’ is used.

Some curious facts about the color red

Just as the color white has certain curiosities, the rest of the tones also have theirs. One of the most outstanding is red. To begin with, it’s the first tone that distinguishes the human being. That’s because it has a longer wavelength and this makes it easier for the newborn brain to process. In fact, babies are thought to be able to identify the color red as young as two weeks old.

There’s also a link between red and appetite. Indeed, red makes you hungry, like yellow. That’s the reason why most food advertisements use these shades. Red also increases respiratory rate and blood pressure. You wouldn’t last long in a red room without getting agitated.

Red is also associated with the violent and the erotic. In the first case, it may be because of its direct link with the color of blood. In the second, the link is indirect. It tends to be associated with elevated temperature and sexual flushing.

Other curious facts

Color has the power to activate our desire, and not only in the sexual field. That’s why, for many centuries, coloring was added to traditional foods, with the aim of making them more appetizing. It’s still done, but in days gone by, this resource was abused. In fact, they even used lead and mercury-based dyes to give food an attractive hue.

The famous blue blood doesn’t exist, as we now all know. Nevertheless, green blood has been found. It was discovered in a Canadian citizen who’d consumed an enormous amount of drugs with a high sulfur content throughout his life. This caused his blood to change color.

Color makes objects and spaces more attractive and enticing. Certain colors favor specific moods. It’s a fantastic phenomenon that gives a special touch to everything we see. In fact, it makes our reality more interesting.

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  • León MD. Software educativo: Morfofisiología del ojo humano. Rev. Ciencias Médicas. 2014;18(5):878-892.