Trichromacy

The term trichromacy refers to the idea that humans are capable of colour vision as a result of the sensitivity of our eyes to three colours.

  • According to the trichromatic theory of colour vision, there are three types of cone cells in the retina that are responsible for the perception of colour.
  • Cone cells are photoreceptors which means they are able to convert light into an electrical charge through a process called photo-transduction.
  • Each of the three types of cone cell responds with a bias towards a favoured range of wavelengths of light within the visible spectrum.
    • The L cone receptor is sensitive to the red region of the visible spectrum (biased towards 560 nm).
    • The M receptor is sensitive to the green region (biased towards 560 nm).
    • The S receptor is sensitive to the blue region (biased towards 420 nm).
  • The three types of cone cells work in combination with one another to enable the human eye to respond to all wavelengths of the visible spectrum.
  • Some researchers suggest that sensitivity to all wavelengths of the visible spectrum enables us to distinguish between as many as seven million different colours.

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