Friday, February 13, 2015

Brain Games

My daughter has recently developed an interest in magic due to a filler gift from Santa. Evidently Santa was looking to even out the number of presents both girls got because he is fair like that and decided to even things out with a Melissa and Doug Magic Set. It turned out to be the favorite gift of the year and she loves putting on magic shows to all those who come to our house.

Since then I've gotten her a couple books on magic and card tricks geared towards her age group and she has been working on learning some of those. She has also developed a liking for watching a show about some boy named Troy who does street magic that is on some cable channel we get. So a couple weeks ago when I saw this show called Brain Games which studies why we perceive things the way we do, I called her over since it pertains a lot to magic and why it works and she has been absorbing it like a sponge. Me too.

The most recent episode was about how we perceive color and began with three circles full of multicolored smaller circles. On the first two, my daughter could see some number a midst all those smaller circles and I could not and on the third one I could see a number and she could not. As the host later said, the first two circles had numbers that could be seen only by those who weren't colorblind and the last circle had a number that could only be seen by those that are colorblind. I was familiar with the colorblind circles but never knew there was a reverse colorblind version of the test.

I have known that I am colorblind (red-green which is also referred to as deuteranomaly) most of my life so it came as no surprise. For the most part, I get through life just fine but occasionally it gets brought to attention when it turned out the tan paper was actually green or something that I thought was blue turned out to be a shade of purple. It always elicits people holding up various objects asking me what color it is as they try to graple with the thought of not seeing color but when I answer with the corect color they get confused. Being color blind does not mean I can't see color, it just means that I see color differently. I can tell red from green from blue from yellow, etc. What I tend to get lost on is if that light purple is actually blue or if that subtle shade of green is actually tan in my eyes. From a distance, red apples will blend into a green tree so that all I can see are the silohettes of the apples. That brilliant red sugar maple tree in the fall doesn't look so brilliant red to me (more of a burnt brown color) but I've come to 'see' its color as you do so when I take a picture of fall leaf colors, nobody would suspect anything. I also sometimes have a hard time telling yellow from red lights at night which isn't a problem until I come to the single flashing light at an intersection. In that case, I just follow what everyone else is doing and get by just fine.

These things I've always known but the show we watched recently highlighted some things that I didn't know. For example, people who are colorblind can actually see better at night which is counter intuitive when I can't tell red from yellow at night. But I've noticed that when walking out after a party at someone's house at night and everyone else is groping and feeling their way and I can for the most part see fine.  I've also noticed that driving at night is not something I like to do because everyone's oncoming headlights seem to effect me more than others, especially the newer lights. Another thing I learned is that I can evidently pick out things camouflaged a lot easier than normal sited people. The military did lots of testing years ago when they realized that their camouflage patterns really didn't do squat against people who were colorblind which one in 12 males have. Evidently their new camouflage patterns work better on both these days. I've never personally noticed that I can pick out a deer standing among trees easier than anyone else but I don't have 'who can spot the camouflaged critter' tests with other people every day either. I also learned that the defective gene actually is on the X chromosome but since females have two of them, their body compensates so they are not normally affected. Males on the other hand only have one X chromosome so if it is defective, and that area of mine most certainly is, we are just crap out of luck.

Watching the show got me curious especially when I learned that they make glasses now that can help correct colors so that I can see them more like everyone else though it does come as a loss of intensity for other colors. There are numerous tests out there showing people have used them say they really do work but at the end of the day, most colorblind people stop wearing them. Most stop wearing them because they don't need them. We've lived in this world all our lives and for us, it is the other world that is just fantasy. I will never be allowed to be a bomb defuser because I can't see the colors of wires in low light conditions but if I were wearing glasses to correct my vision, would it make you or even I feel safer? I doubt it. So I don't think I will be shelling out an extra $400 anytime soon just so my reality can be over turned. So for now, I think I am going to try and get a group of friend together for some night time paintball games while wearing camouflage. Any takers?


Anonymous said...

That's brilliant she's attempting to understand magic.

Ed said...

Vince - The more I learn from just helping her, I am amazed at how easily our minds can be fooled!