Video Explains How Our Brains Process Color

In another reminder of how existence boils down to information theory, here’s a new explainer on how brains process color. Captain Disillusion, a YouTuber and science educator, created the explainer, which follows light on its journey from its source into someone’s brain. And yes, you may “see” color differently after watching this video.

Disillusion recently posted the video, which comes via Laughing Squid, to his eponymous YouTube channel. And right off the bat he notes that “color” doesn’t actually exist. Although, as Disillusion says, electromagnetic energy does exist and our vision systems are sensitive to one particular segment of its wavelength spectrum.

Disillusion then goes on to discuss how the photoreceptors in our eyeballs receive that electromagnetic energy and interpret it, in part, using three types of cones that respond to low-, medium-, and long-wavelength light.

Here is an explainer of how you perceive color.

Captain Disillusion 

“All of the visual information that gets to the brain is a combination of at least two [cone types]” Disillusion highlights in the video. He adds that these combinations are perceived as different color hues, which span every frequency of the visual spectrum.

Perhaps the coolest part of the video is the explanation of the “chromaticity diagrams” inside of creatures’ heads. As the YouTuber notes, different animals, and indeed different people, have different color perceptions of the same objects. This arises from our different physiologies and the way they influence the values and “shapes” of our respective color palettes.

Here is an explainer of how you perceive color.

Captain Disillusion

Aside from this explainer, Disillusion has tons of others, many with the same Bill-Nye-slash-Max-Headroom vibe. And while it’s not exactly clear what Disillusion’s credentials are, he definitely knows what he’s talking about. Even engineer and science educator Destin Sandlin commented, “The amount of work that went into every second of this video is incredible.”

What do you think about this scientific breakdown of how we perceive color? Are you now going to look at light in a whole new… light? Let’s get some colorful thoughts going in the comments!

Feature image: Captain Disillusion 

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