can blind individuals percieve color?

can blind individuals acurtaly perceive color?


…but not like you or I

Well, I personally think that being blind is exactly like when you stand up too fast and everything goes gray. It’s possible that when someone is blind, all they see is gray instead of black. Maybe it’s not the sensory part of the brain that sees that’s broken, but the connection or the eyes themselves that are the things broken.

Helen Keller is probably the most famous example.

Yes, totally blind people can percieve color since usually it’s a defect in the eyes or the optic nerve, the part of the brain that processes images and color is still there. What they actually “see” in their minds I don’t know, I suppose it depends a lot on the person and whether they were born blind or lost their sight.

Other forms of partial blindness usually can see color at least vaguely. If I lived in a time or place without glasses and contacts I’d be considered blind because my vision is so bad so this is something I’ve thought about and read about a fair bit.

How would you know if they can understand color? The only way would be if their description matches your’s. But how do you describe color? Then you have to wonder if two people with perfect vision even see color in the same way. Do I see red in the same way you do?

I had a great grand father who went blind when he was 18 (I think). I remember he could tell me a tree was green and the sky was blue, but he was blind for so long that he couldn’t remember what blue and green actually mean visually.


Do I see red in the same way you do?

I also thought about that. I can see red as red. But, if you were me, but with your understanding of color, you might see it as more of a purple, or even something completly different. It’s really cool how much different the world would look if you could see more than what you see.

Born Blind, or “become blind”

No to the ones born blind

Yes to the ones who will be blind. I dream in color.

Of course we all see red as red. It’s the same frequency and our eyes process the frequency in the same way…

Now, taste is not so arbitrary. Who knows…
We can actually show that different people can interpret tastes differently.

But because color is only detected in one way, sight, then there is no other way to describe it in concrete terms.

Sure people could say “red is like fire” but that is completely abstract and holds no universally common meaning.

So to say absolutely that I perceive red the same way you do is faulty, because we have no defenite way to describe red to each other.

It is a picky thing, and holds absolutely no relevence in life.


Glad to see someone understands color. As for if someone born blind can understand color. Some people say yes, some say no. I do not know. No one who is blind has spoken to me about it.

I remember hearing that green was explained to Helen Kellor as the feel of grass. But really think about the feel of grass. It may soften the ground you sit on but if it contacts your skin you begin to itch. So is green something that is soft at first but begins to itch?

Trying to explain anything to someone who CAN NOT EXPERIANCE it is subjective at best.

I know that when I close my eyes in a totally dark room I see colors swimming, even if it has been an hour or more since I entered the room. As an amature astronimer I know it takes about 20 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to lower light levels so an hour is more then enough time that this should not be happening if it is just a matter of the eyes adjusting. I do not know if blind people SEE such things or even how to explain to them what I am talking about.

I do know several blind people but you know this subject has never really come up in thier presents. Maybe you can figure that one out.

Yeah. It is like trying to understand how a bat perceives sonar. Perhaps in a 3D sort of way, maybe.

Try to understand the 4th dimension. Or even trying to understand what your girlfriend is angry about.

I have an interesting comment on this, I have had dreams, not about seeing because I can see hear and taste just as well as anyone else(I think)… But I have had many dreams where I’ve had vivid sensory stimuli that I’ve never expereinced in the real world. I think that we are hardwired in a way that even if we were unable to see our mental construct would still make images in our heads. Assuming you were blind from birth, I would wager a guess that if were totally blind from birth, you would still time to time be able to ‘see’ images in your head. At least it makes sense to me. Though It would be nice to have a firsthand opinion of this. though i dont know that a blind blender user would be much effective, no offense. But As far as i know, there arent many speech synthesis programs that can accurately describe an image. but who knows, I’ll probably be proven wrong… and feel like an ass… oh well.

Not everyone can see red.
Many men have a defect that (from what i can remember) that can’t see green and believe it is blue.
Thats why you get colour test in certain jobs. Like bomb disposal and electrical engineering. Where if you cant see cetian colours could be life threating
Thats also why when you get clothes and you say there a dark blue, and someone says no there not there black.

I am slightly RED/GREEN color blind. I didn’t know it until I had an eye exam at the age of 17, and the doctor did the color test. Mainly light-greens and pale-pink look white to me. At night time, green traffic lights look like regular street lamps, at a far distance.

As far as perceiving a color, it is all personal. Could you imagine seeing “normal colors” all of your life, without questioning it, then it turns out that what you call “yellow” is what somebody else perceives as “blue”. To each person it is “normal”.

Insects see infrared “colors”. Beyond what we can actually see.

Try this with your web-cam. Aim a normal remote control at the camera. The invisible light (infrared) is seen by the camera, but not in real life.

I have that, too. In this one kitchen I had, the wallpaper had red and green alternating apples. From across the kitchen, they looked brown to me. You know that eye test where there is a number in this big circle of little dots? I can get the frist one. Its usually 12. :smiley:


Well, what I philosiphy (hope that’s spelled right) is that it is possible that your brain inverts colors like a computer can, and someone else’s brain does not, and you would never know. You would see red, and someone else would see red, but if you were to look into the other person’t mind, you would see green Green to you, but they know it as red, so they don’t know the difference. Meanwhile, they see a bit of green, but they see it inverted (red). They don’t know it’s inverted, their just used to seeing it as it is. They think blue is a cool color, red is a warm color, though if they were to see it right they would see the opposite. But they are completely ignorant of it.

We can observe how our brain interprets color and we can observe the color. It’s the same thing. The only difference would be deep down in conciousness and thats not really scientific.

I actually read an article about this in a philosophy journal.

It’s scientific. It goes right down to the individual neurons.

When I was younger I took one of those colour blobs/circles tests and was completely confused. The woman was like “What do you see?” and I was like “huh? nothing” “What about this one?” “Umm…loads of coloured shapes?”

He he, yup I was colour blind, though my eyesight gradually got better as I aged, it has now almost gone away. Green/Brown, Purple/Blue, Orange/Red and other matching colours looked almost completely the same for me, if I looked REALLY close for a minute or so I could tell they were different, but not which was which.

I’m much better now and I can see all colours quite well, though sometimes for faraway things it gets odd. The funny thing is I can’t remember how the world looked to me back then, I just know it happened :S

On another note, even though I had yearly eye tests when I was in primary school, and had terrible eyesight, the nurses never told me I needed glasses until I was 14. I thought everyone saw the world as a horribly blurry mass. :slight_smile: