Best of The New York Review, plus books, events, and other items of interest, Some Uncommon Observations About Vitiated Sight, Physiological Optics Society of America, Washington, DC, 1924, Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information, "Retinex Theory and Colour Constancy," article by J.J. McCann, "Colour Vision: Eye Mechanisms," article by W.A.H. But clearly none of these conditions applied to our correspondent, Jonathan I. In February, then, he put aside all his tints, all his experiments in color; he resolved to start painting in black and white only. Newton, in his famous prism experiment in 1666, had shown that “white” light was composite—could be decomposed into, and recomposed by, all the colors of the spectrum. Colorblindness, as ordinarily understood, is something one is born with—a di}culty distinguishing red and green, or other colors, or (extremely rarely) an inability to see any colors at all, due to defects in the color-responding cells, the cones, of the retina. I. had always had a most acute, erotically and aesthetically charged sense of smell—indeed, he ran a small perfume business on the side, compounding his own scents. One has a shadow of this fear when Land and Zeki say, in effect, “color is a computation,” and seem to reduce color to something colorless, in the depths of the visual cortex. Though one may separate out a small part of the visual cortex as an isolated unit, as is necessary in a physiological approach, the visual cortex is part of the brain, and the brain is part of the organism, and the organism—every organism—has a world of its own, in which perceptions become infinitely more than information carriers, become an integral part of the subjectivity, the feeling, the style of the individual. I. was apparently seeing. Young’s hypothesis was confirmed by Helmholtz a half-century later, so that we now speak of the Young–Helmholtz hypothesis. “Had anyone seen a sunrise like this before?”. “I often wonder about people who work at night. The effect of this, in three dimensions and in a different tonal scale from the “black and white” we are all accustomed to, was indeed macabre, and wholly unlike that of a black-and-white photograph. "The Case of the Colorblind Painter" 3‑41 "To See and Not See" 108‑152 . They prefer it…. He spoke of color vision as “an act of judgment.”. Does the brain work like a computer—or, to put it more usefully, does the brain use algorithms—for the construction of color? "The Last Hippie" portrays a man whose ability to form new memories was destroyed by a massive midline brain tumor; he still "lives" in the 1960's. Goethe thought (mistakenly) that Newton had reduced color to the purely physical, and reacted by elevating it to the purely mental. Arriving home, he complained to his wife of having a headache and feeling confused, but made no mention of the accident. And this showed us with great clarity how his ability to discriminate different wavelengths was preserved, while his color perception was obliterated, how there was a clear dissociation of the two. There can be disorders at this higher level, too, color association defects, or color agnosias, when colors, though they may be “constructed” correctly, lose their usual associations, feelings, and meanings. But this did not help very much, for the mental image of a tomato was as black as its appearance. we accept drawings, films, television—small, flat images in black and white you can look at, or away from, when you want. He had seen normally all his life, had been born with a full complement of cones, or color receptors, and presumably still had these. Clearly his case did not resemble “ordinary” colorblindness, in which the color receptors of the eyes are defective or missing. He decided, as a first exercise, to paint flowers, taking from his palette what tints seemed “tonally right.” The pictures he did at this time present to normal eyes a confusing welter of colors, and only reveal their sense when seen in black and white. I need a brief summary on the book in general. But there is something in the language of physics—“rays differently refrangible”—that seems very far from the experience of color. 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