Colour vision

Colour vision is the human ability to distinguish between objects based on the wavelengths of the light they emit, reflect or transmit. The human eye and brain together translate light into colour.

  • The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. Light, however, is rarely of a single wavelength, so an observer will usually be exposed to a range of different wavelengths of light or a mixture of wavelengths from different areas of the spectrum.
  • Colours can be measured and quantified in various ways; indeed, a person’s perception of colour is a subjective process whereby the brain responds to the stimuli that are produced when incoming light reacts with several types of cone cells in the eye. In essence, different people see the same illuminated object or light source in different ways.