Alex stood in front of the mirror and observed himself. “What color?” He didn’t ask anyone specifically. He stared at his reflection for a while, then repeated: “What color?”

In 1977, psychologist Irene Pepperberg bought a gray parrot from a pet store. Alex may be the only animal so far that has raised seeming problems. (The feathered genius, whose name is the abbreviation of “Bird Learning Experiment”, learned that the answer was “gray” after being told six times.)

Of course, under normal circumstances, color-centric thinking is unique to humans, and the questions are endless: Is the blue you see the same as the blue I see? How would you describe blue to someone who has never observed it? For most people, these arguments only appear in Philosophy 101. However, for color-blind people, this questioning is lifelong and will affect everything, whether it’s navigation, home repair, Makeup application, Or choose clothing.

Color blindness, a feature most commonly caused by X chromosome mutations-this means that if you are designated as a male at birth, you are more likely to develop color blindness (1 in 12, compared to 200 points when you are designated as a female at birth One), especially if you are of Nordic descent-will be shrouded in myths and misunderstandings. The biggest problem: all color defects are roughly the same or appear as a grayscale view of the world. In fact, people who are color-blind can still see a lot of colors, but their experience is different.

Green may seem quiet. “Red may look green, or green may look brown,” said Muriel Shonak, An optometrist at the Mayo Clinic. Other colors—blue and green, yellow and red, purple and red—may be difficult to distinguish, or completely unrecognizable. The complete or almost complete absence of color is called color blindness, which is rare, affecting one in 30,000 people; but on the small island of Pingelap in Micronesia, this proportion soars to 10% of the total population . Remember how we said it is genetic?

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We took a picture
Marilyn Monroe (top left) also uses a digital simulator to show how different types of color blindness may affect your way of viewing-although “it is impossible…to fully understand what color blindness in any particular individual might look like,” said the Mayo Clinic Schornack.

But biology is not the only contributor. A pair of identical twins will almost certainly have the same form of color blindness, but a lifetime experience may mean that they see different colors every day. “Genetics [only] Allows us to predict what someone can see in a controlled environment (such as in a laboratory),” says Robert B. Hefnagel, Clinician and scientist of ophthalmology genetics at the National Eye Institute.


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