Yes, we have no blue bananas

Oct 19, 2006

German scientists say color perception depends not only on an object's pigmentation but also on our knowledge of what the object should look like.

Using images of common fruits and vegetables, Karl Gegenfurtner and colleagues at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany, allowed observers to manipulate the color content of a piece of fruit or vegetable.

Observers were asked to alter the color information so as to make the fruits or vegetable appear to lack color. The results showed observers' preconceptions about the fruit's natural color influenced their perception of its actual color.

For example, to make a banana appear black and white, subjects adjusted it to be slightly blue, suggesting they were compensating for a perception that the banana was yellow.

The results, say the researchers, suggest our perception of object color is the combined product of actual sensory data and the brain's expectations about what color the object should be. Information derived from the wavelengths of reflected light is combined with our memory of an object's normal color to produce the colors that we see.

The study appears in the November issue of Nature Neuroscience.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Altruistic behavior may be governed more by relationships than instincts, psychologist finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Global positioning' for molecules

31 minutes ago

In everyday life, the global positioning system (GPS) can be employed to reliably determine the momentary location of one en route to the desired destination. Scientists from the Institute of Physical and ...

Coping with floods—of water and data

35 minutes ago

Halloween 2013 brought real terror to an Austin, Texas, neighborhood, when a flash flood killed four residents and damaged roughly 1,200 homes. Following torrential rains, Onion Creek swept over its banks and inundated the ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.