Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Color Me Curious

I was just a kid in school when I first began wondering about color. What I wanted to know was whether the color I see as green, for example, is the same color you see as green. I'm not talking about color blindness. For the sake of this discussion, I'm assuming you and I can both identify "green" when we see it; but does it look the same to you as it does to me?

I've done a little bit of reading on this question (I'm not the only one who has asked it, it turns out), and the answer from the experts always seems to be, "We don't know." Since no one has ever been able to see through someone else's eyes, we don't know if everyone perceives a specific wavelength (color) the same.

It makes sense to me that we might perceive colors differently. We certainly perceive tastes differently. For instance, my husband tells me that chocolate tastes bitter to him; to me it is sweet. Zillions of people love the taste of coffee; to me it is unpalatable. Lots of people enjoy the taste of the red and green chiles grown here in New Mexico; I can't even taste them for the painful fire that assails my mouth, tongue and throat when I take a bite.

My daughter-in-law, Kelsey, introduced me to the term "super-taster." She and I both consider ourselves super-tasters, and, when I looked it up on the Internet, I found lots of research to substantiate this phenomenon. Super-tasters perceive all tastes as more intense than other people.

I read an article on the Internet, written by BBC News. It even tells about a test you can give yourself to see if you are a super-taster. It involves staining a portion of your tongue and counting the number of taste buds that show through a 7mm-wide hole. I'm going to try it. But I already know the result. I'm definitely a super-taster, which explains why the food I like tastes delicious to me, but is considered bland by my friends.

As I was reading about this topic, I came across some references to a book titled, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by neurologist Oliver Sacks. Looks like it would be interesting, and I'm going to try to locate a copy. Maybe it will be my next blog book review.

So, colors and tastes . . . I find this kind of science fascinating. Maybe for my next career, I'll go into research.


Anonymous said...

It sounds good. Count me in!

Seriously, I simply must be a part of your scientific super-taster
experiments. If you can have patience and hold off until I arrive, I will offer my services as your documentation photographer and official "bud" counter, thus saving you from the fate of spending the rest of your days (and nights, I suppose) crosseyed. And THERE is a whole other research project for you. Is one still crosseyed when one is asleep or has one's eyes closed? Hmmm...I suppose. You are an excellent photographer so I will let you photograph that research. I will recline with my closed eyes crosseyed. Whatever.

Wait for me. I'll be there!

Line up restaurants. We'll taste test!

I am still stuck on "Six Words". (Linda's Monday, Apr 14th blog)

I am going back to do Linda's "One Word" blog quiz which I never did. My husband would prefer that anyway.

So long now. Catch ya later.


Linda said...

Oh, yes, GR! I'll be happy to have a "lab partner" for this experiment. I'll be sure to have the dye and the paper with a 7mm wide hole and the magnifying glass with me when you arrive NEXT MONTH! (Yahoo!)

Anonymous said...