Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lady Anachronism / Tetrachromacy

This blouse is entirely incredible. For the last few days, I've been pairing it with high-waisted shorts, skirts and polka dot dresses! It works with everything, and I can either tie it up at the waist or do up the buttons all the way down, which makes it a very versatile item!

blouse - c/o Choies
dress - Vintage
hat - c/o Wholesale
necklace - Claire's (Japan)
shoes - Vintage
socks - Cotton On

After I talked about colour vision in my last post, Emily alerted me to something called tetrachromacy, which I'm going to talk about here today!

First off, most humans are "trichromats", meaning we have three different types of cells  (called cones) in our eyes that can detect three different wavelengths, or colour ranges. One type of cone detects red colours, one detects green and the last, blue.

However, quite a few humans who have "colour-blindness", and many mammals (like dogs) are only "dichromats". This means they only have two types of cones in their eyes and so see a smaller range of colours than trichromats.
Then there are some animals that experience more than the colours that we can see. Many birds and insects are what are called "tetrachromats", because they have four types of cones in their eyes. This means they are able to see all the colours we see (red, green and blue), plus a whole range of ultra-violet colours as well. And just as it would be impossible to describe 'red' to someone who is red/green colourblind, it would be impossible to imagine what the world would look like with so many additional colours.

Theoretically, tetrachromats would be able to see millions more colours than we could see. They could distinguish between two shades of blue, for example, that would look identical to a trichromat. Although tetrachromacy has been said to exist (rarely) in humans, this has been hard to confirm experimentally (and there are claims that tests on so-called tetrachromats have been flawed due to insufficient blinding leading to the Clever Hans effect - something I'll talk about in a science post real soon).

However, science may be able to turn people into tetrachromats.

Scientists have been able to, via gene therapy, transform rats and monkeys who were only dichromats ("blind" to red and green colours) into trichromats. The method still needs some confirming, however if it does work, this technique could be adapted to allow colourblind people to see, and possibly even allow normal "trichromats" the chance to see in tetrachromatic vision! Which would be like having a mildly cool superpower, I think. (Read more about this in a very interesting article in the Scientific American).

How are you all doing today?

p.s. I have announced the winner of the Koogal giveaway! Thank you so much to all the people who entered and the awesome effort that you all put in! I was inspired by all the outfits people put together with Koogal items. Congratulations Ashley K. (I have sent you your voucher!)


  1. THIS OUTFIT IS SO AMAZING. You consistently put together the greatest outfit, it kiiilllls me! And where did you get the bag? :D

    1. Oh sorry, I forgot to mention it in my post! It's vintage, from Salvation Army :)

  2. I love that blouse and the entire outfit!! And thanks for sharing, I'm obsessed with psychology and especially vision :) Wanna learn about something really cool that also (usually) has people seeing colors? Look up synesthesia. It won't disappoint.


    1. Ahhh yep, you'd be very right there, I know all about synesthesia! It's one of the first things that got me interested in perception in psychology!

  3. That is so cool about tetrachromacy! I love how I can't even imagine the extra colors someone would see.
    And your new blouse is awesome! I can definitely see how it'd be very versatile. The colors lend themselves to a lot of different pairings. It looks so cute layered over your vintage dress.

  4. The blouse is really cool and I really love the dress underneath it too, the leaf print is so cute.
    On a sort of related side-note, there's some evidence that suggests that dogs are able to see blue-green light and are not so colorblind as we think they are. But their color vision is still bad.

    I've done some research on synesthesia too, it's such an interesting phenomenon! There was this news article I read recently about a man who would pick his friends based on how their names tasted.

    - kt

  5. I love your blouse!!

    Francesca xo

  6. Love this! <3

  7. I love love love this outfit! Just brilliant!

    Dress To Cook Blog

  8. this is one of my favourite outfits of yours! the colours and patterns just go so well together and it reminds me of autumn :)

  9. wow firstly love the new header drawing! it's simply stunning and the girl who did it is so talented!!

    also loving all the brown tones in this outfit. the contrast between the striped shirt and printed dress is too lovely! the thing about tetrachromats is really interesting as well. to think that there are even additional colours makes you wonder how much our eyes are actually limiting what we perceive of the world! and of course it would be amazing to be able to get colourblind people to see more.

  10. Amazing outfit <3. I love the colors so much!!

    And wow, that was a pretty interesting read! It makes me want to be those animals who can see even more colors and experience what it feels like ^_^.

  11. I love the blouse! I could wear a button-up shirt like that every day.

    Talking about color vision makes my head spin. I keep thinking about this comic. I read a story (I think it was in An Anthropologist on Mars) about a painter who had a stroke and lost his ability to process color. His eyes/rods and cones were fine, but his brain couldn't process the information to interpret colors. He couldn't even remember what colors looked like! He knew an apple was red, for example, but he couldn't actually remember what red looks like. CRAZY.

    Also - I loooooove your new header! So amazing!

  12. I've never heard of tetrochromacy so thank you for talking about this :) finding new things to learn is my favourite thing ever <3
    Also, about the outfit: that striped blouse looks amazing on you, I'm definitely not surprised that you like it so much!
    My blog: Life Is A Romantic Poem

  13. Thats so cute!!! Love the color combination! :D

  14. That post about colours is so interesting; I've always been wondering since I'm a child if some "new colors" exist in the univers or on other planets. Actually I have my answer now : there are, but we can't really see them.

    I would like to see what is the vision of a bird or another animal. I don't know if science can exactly reproduce it, but that would be interesting ! It's in this cases I realize that the world we made is adapted to us, to our height and our visions, but all the other animals can't have the same way to see it.
    Also, I was wondering what the blind people can "see". That might sounds really stupid I know, but I can't imagine they are totally immersed in a black world, they should see a "screen" or some spots or colors, it can be only black ? And how can they imagine, as you said, what we call green or blue ? Eyes are a very complicated tool !

    I really like your natural hair, and it matches so well with your outfit ! :)

    Couleur Spleen.

    1. "it can't be only black" I should always read again my messages ;)

  15. you look stunning! :)

  16. That dress is absolutely stunning! And I can see how that top can be so versatile! Super adorable. :)


  17. I LOVE this outfit post, Annika! You did a good job coordinating everything - it all came together so well :3

  18. Looove this outfit, and the info about the types of colors we see is super interesting! I have never been great at science, but I love learning about these kinds of things!!

    xox Sammi

  19. I love the pattern on that dress :)

  20. Dear Annika I am a tetrachromat diagnosed 12-18-12 by Dr. Jay Neitz. see
    I see over 100 million colors and I am a fien artist oil painter and teacher. I am a Tetrachromist;)! Contact me if you wish.
    Best to you,
    Concetta Antico

    1. Wow, thanks for getting in contact! I am still skeptical as to whether or not the extra cone in "2-3% of the world female population" allows every single one of these people to be actually, properly tetrachromatic, and truly see millions of extra colours, but am totally open to evidence that shows that is true - Dr Neitz hasn't published any papers on tetrachromacy yet as far as I can see, though it's definitely a fascinating area of research.

      Your artworks are really, seriously beautiful though. The peacocks in some of your works are magnificent :) I couldn't ever comprehend what seeing 99 million more colours would look like..


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