Color vision strategy defies textbook picture | Science News

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Color vision strategy defies textbook picture

Cone cells fill in hues on black-and-white image, new study suggests

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2:00pm, September 14, 2016
coloring book

EYE COLORING  Color vision may work a bit like filling in colors in a black-and-white coloring book, new research suggests.

Color vision may actually work like a colorized version of a black-and-white movie, a new study suggests.

Cone cells, which sense red, green or blue light, detect white more often than colors, researchers report September 14 in Science Advances. The textbook-rewriting discovery could change scientists’ thinking about how color vision works.

For decades, researchers have known that three types of cone cells in the retina are responsible for color vision. Those cone cells were thought to send “red,” “green” and “blue” signals to the brain. The brain supposedly combines the colors, much the way a color printer does, to create a rainbow-hued picture of the world (including black and white). But the new findings indicate that “the retina is doing more of the work, and it’s doing it in a more simpleminded way,” says Jay Neitz, a color vision

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