The surprising pattern behind color names around the world

“In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge.”

Using virtual reality to promote empathy

This article brings together many concepts from TOK including the role of sense perception and its connection to our emotions as well as the role of perspective in acquiring knowledge and the power of shifting perspectives.

“This article, by leading social entrepreneur Dr Alexandra Ivanovitch, explores how VR works in practice, the cognitive and psychological mechanisms underlying VR, and its potential application in the field of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. She reviews cutting-edge scientific research on how VR creates a “body ownership illusion” and “embodied cognition”, which help us transcend neurophysiological limitations inherent to our own point of view, and to adopt the perspective of another human being. The article also discusses experiments that show VR can reduce biases, build empathy and encourage prosocial behavior. Dr Ivanovitch calls for collaboration between technology, science and art to identify ways that immersive technology can be used to strengthen peace.”

http://www.centerforempathy.org/virtual-reality-the-frontier-of-peacemaking/

What are the limits of human vision?

“Wondrous as it is, our sense of vision is clearly not without certain limitations. We can no more see radio waves emanating from our electronic devices than we can spot the wee bacteria right under our noses. But with advances in physics and biology, we can test the fundamental limits of natural vision. “Everything you can discern has a threshold, a lowest level above which you can and below which you can’t,” says Michael Landy, professor of psychology and neural science at New York University. ”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150727-what-are-the-limits-of-human-vision

The Women with Superhuman Vision

“A tiny group of people can see ‘invisible’ colours that no-one else can perceive, discovers David Robson. How do they do it?”

“Today, she knows that this is a symptom of a condition known as “tetrachromacy”. Thanks to a variation in a gene that influences the development of their retinas, people like Antico can see colours invisible to most of us. Consider a pebble pathway. What appears dull grey to you or me shines like a jeweller’s display to Antico. “The little stones jump out at me with oranges, yellows, greens, blues and pinks,” she says. “I’m kind of shocked when I realise what other people aren’t seeing.””

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140905-the-women-with-super-human-vision

How do language and lifestyle affect your perceptions?

Part of an interesting video series, Do You See What I See. The first part of this link shows an African tribe, the Himba, whose language and environment differ so much from ours that they are able to distinguish different shades very differently from us. The link below is for the part that shows the Himba tribe. At the bottom of the video player are links for the rest of that show.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xl7eh1_horizon-do-you-see-what-i-see-part-4-4_shortfilms

Here an article about how those same people are able to discern optical illusions better than people who live in modern societies.

The Astonishing Vision of Namibia’s Nomads

“The Himba people of Namibia can see fine details and ignore distraction much better than most other human beings – a finding that may reflect the many ways that modern life is changing our minds and abilities.”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170306-the-astonishing-focus-of-namibias-nomads

TED Talk: Isaac Lidsky: What reality are you creating for yourself?

“Reality isn’t something you perceive; it’s something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.”