How Color Shapes Our Lives

The Atlantic:

Jay Neitz has cured colorblindness. At least he thinks he could cure colorblindness, if the FDA would let him operate on humans. What Neitz, a vision expert at the University of Washington, has done for sure is given monkeys the ability to see red.

Like most mammals, squirrel monkeys have only two types of cone cells in their eyes—blue and green—and can, therefore, only see those colors. But by doing some genetic kung fu, Neitz, along with his lab partner (and wife), the neuroscientist Maureen Neitz, was able to convert some of the monkeys’ green cones to red, giving them the same trichromatic vision that humans have.

Well, most humans. Squirrel monkeys in nature actually see things more or less the same way humans who are red-green colorblind do. “People that are red-green color blind have only 1 percent of the color vision a normal person has,” Neitz says, “which is a heck of a lot closer to having none than to what everyone else has.” Neitz believes his technique could give the estimated 10 percent of American men who are red-green colorblind the ability to see like the rest of us.

There’s no evidence that this is some innate animal response to the color pink; it is much more likely to be driven by social associations. “When burly men are exposed to the color pink, they’re primed to think of the concepts that we associate with pinkness,” says Adam Alter, a professor of marketing and psychology at New York University, and author of the book Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors.

A University of Rochester team, led by professor of psychology Andrew Elliot and psychology graduate student Adam Pazda, has worked on a series of studies that have shown that women dressed in red are more attractive to men than women dressed in any other color.

Read the whole story: The Atlantic

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