Critical Thinking Question

Compare the two theories of color perception. Are they completely different?


The trichromatic theory of color vision and the opponent-process theory are not mutually exclusive. Research has shown they apply to different levels of the nervous system. For visual processing on the retina, trichromatic theory applies: the cones are responsive to three different wavelengths that represent red, blue, and green. But once the signal moves past the retina on its way to the brain, the cells respond in a way consistent with opponent-process theory.

Color is not a physical property of our environment. What function (if any) do you think color vision serves?


Color vision probably serves multiple adaptive purposes. One popular hypothesis suggests that seeing in color allowed our ancestors to differentiate ripened fruits and vegetables more easily.