Wonder Contributors

Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by our Wonder Friend, Hailie of Riverdale, MI.  Hailie Wonders, “Do people see colors different then other people?” As of today, Hailie’s Wonder has received 142 votes! Way to go, Hailie! Keep WONDERing with us! 

Have you ever seen something that you thought was beautiful and spectacular? You rush to tell someone about it. Perhaps you point into the air and shout, “Look at that!” But they don’t see what you see. They might see it, but they don’t have the same reaction that you do. You might WONDER if they really saw what you saw at all.

Is it possible that different people can look at the same things and see something different? New research has led scientists to believe that may be true. In particular, people may not see all the same colors when they look at the same things.

These scientists believe that color perception may not be predetermined like many have believed for hundreds of years. Instead of a set pattern, scientists doing research with monkeys found that color perception may instead be shaped by the outside world.

Although most of us would agree that red is the color of cherries, cardinals and stop signs, scientists now think that one person’s red could sometimes be another person’s blue. The scientists’ research has led them to believe that new techniques might one day allow color-blind people to see colors again…and blind people to see once again, too!

Researchers point out that colors are differentiated by how our brains react differently to different wavelengths of light. They believe our brains don’t automatically associate, for example, short wavelengths with blue.

Scientists think that other factors, such as mood, feelings and even memories can affect our perception of colors. They claim it’s entirely possible that two people can look at the same object and have the same wavelengths hit their eyes, yet “see” different colors!

Another factor that may affect perception is the physical parts of our body that process the information from the world around us. Most people have three different photoreceptors in the backs of their eyes that perceive red, green and blue. Of course, color-blind people may be missing one or more of these photoreceptors.

Still others — called tetrachromats — may have a fourth photoreceptor that helps them see the full range of colors with greater sensitivity than the average person. Unless your eyes are specially tested, you might not ever know you’re a tetrachromat. You might just spend your life perceiving colors in ways that most people never will!

59 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (43 votes, avg. 4.47 out of 5)
    • Hi Dylan and Lilly, thanks for sharing your comments! Today’s Wonder video made us think about love, color, and perspective! We Wonder if you have a favorite color. Do you think your Wonder Friends see the color differently than you? It’s very fun to Wonder about this topic – we’re glad you’re here! :)

    • Hi Jasmine and Mikayla, thanks for WONDERing with us! We are glad you have been thinking about how different our eyes can be from your friends’ and your family’s! We might see things differently and that’s what we call perspective! :)

    • Hi Jasmine and Destiny, this Wonder video sure did move quickly! However, we are glad you’ve been thinking about perspective. Perhaps you see things in a different light – or from a different point of view! We all see things a bit differently – that’s what makes us WONDERful! :)

  1. People don’t see the same colors as other people do because some people are colored blind and stuff.

    Tomorrow’s wonder will be about do people have the same taste as others do or it could be flavors of stuff.

    • We are so glad you’re WONDERing with us today, Byancah and Amelia! Thanks for sharing your comments and what you’ve learned. We think it’s cool to Wonder about perspective and how we can look at the same thing and see something quite different! We hope you like tomorrow’s flavorful Wonder! :)

  2. THOUGHT I thought the video was very
    CONNECTION: my connection is that video
    WWOTD: no wonder word
    PREDICTION: My prediction is that it is going to be about related wonders

    • Hi there Andrea and TJ! We are happy you’re here to Wonder with us today! We really enjoyed learning about the color wheel and different perspectives with you! So much fun! We hope to see you soon! :)

  3. THOUGHT: I never knew a stick could come to life
    CONNECTION: I never heard this story before
    PREDICTION: How we taste things

  4. THOUGHT: The video was long.

    CONNECTION: My aunt is like that.

    PREDICTION: I predict that tomorrow’s wonder will be about candy.

    • Hi Jeremiah and Jenna! With the power of your imagination, you can certainly bring an object to life, even a stick! Thanks for WONDERing along with us today – we Wonder if you have a favorite color to share? :)

  5. THOUGHT:I think that that video was weird.

    CONNECTION: I love bright colors.


    PREDICTION: I predict tomorrow’s wonder will be about lollipops.

  6. connection: their love is like my love for my family
    burning question: why is their love on here we know different kinds of love.
    something I learned new: I learned that colors are a kind of feeling.

    • We’re glad you joined us to Wonder today, Destiny and Masenashcraft! It’s cool to Wonder about colors, feelings, and even love! They go hand-in-hand, don’t they? We hope you enjoy our sweet Wonder tomorrow! :)

  7. THOUGHT: Dogs see different colors. They’re basically color blind.

    CONNECTION: I have a friend that is color blind and once when he was coloring, he colored a yellow heart.

    PREDICTION: I predict tomorrow’s wonder will be about lollipops.

  8. THOUGHT:I didn’t get the video.
    CONNECTION:I thought about that before.
    PREDICTION:I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about how we taste food.

  9. THOUGHT:I really really really liked the video passage okay *_*
    CONNECTION:I have had that happen to me before.
    PREDICTION:I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about flavor.

  10. THOUGHT: that was awkward kind of.
    CONNECTION: I found <3 before lol
    PREDICTION: Tomorrow’s wonder is about jelly beans.

    • We’re glad you liked today’s Wonder passage, Tiffany and Janiya! We often show how we through colors… and we even see the same colors in different ways!

      We think you’re right on target with tomorrow’s Wonder guesses! NICE WORK! :)

  11. Thought: The video was kind of funny

    Connection: I see colors my brother doesn’t see.

    Prediction: Is it all about ice cream?

    • We love your connections to this Wonder, Christopher and Chett! We think it’s great that you both enjoy WONDERing with us and we hope you continue to draw! What are your favorite kinds of art? :)

  12. Thought : It was very long.
    Connection : I love colors they’re very pretty.
    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about something that has sugar.

  13. THOUGHT: Well that was weird I really didn’t get it as much as I thought I would.

    CONNECTION:I like bright colors

    PREDICTION:I predict that tomorrow’s wonder is about tasting candy.

    • Hi Keith and London, thanks for sharing your comments today! We always look forward to them and we hope you learned something new with us today! Do you have favorite colors to share? :)

  14. THOUGHT: I thought that when people say they love they really don’t.

    CONNECTION:I have seen people on TV that had a divorce for cheating.

    PREDICTION: I predict that tomorrow’s wonder will be about candy.

    • Hi Jenna and Anthony, we hope you can enjoy this Wonder with your friends and family! If you’ve been having trouble watching the video, perhaps you can try again at your house or at the library! We love WONDERing about colors of all kinds with you! :)

  15. I think this passage was so interesting. I think that it is cool that scientists have found a way to help blind or clor blind people. However I would like to know if you agree with my onpinion.

  16. I didn’t know people could not see the same color, but I know that my eyes are fine. Also my colors are red and blue. :) ;)

    • Hi Carlos and Samantha! Thanks for sharing your comments with us – we are so excited you learned something new with us AND you shared your favorite colors! We love learning more about our Wonder Friends!

      Keep up the great work! :)

  17. That is really fascinating how different people see different colors! I didn’t know that some people could look at a stop sign and see it as blue. It still puzzles me how the colors look different to other people. I think it is really cool that people see different things and I definitely got more curious than I was before.

    • How AWESOME that you got more curious after reading this Wonder, Helen! It is puzzling to think about people seeing different colors! We think you are really COOL for spending time here with us in Wonderopolis! :)

  18. That was exactly what i was wondering about a few years ago!!
    I even asked my teacher in a free discussion, “What if RED to me is actually BLUE to somebody else?” but he couldn’t get me at all and ended up brushing my question off by saying that whatever I was saying is more likely to be impossible..that was so frustrating and I felt that I was the only one who thought about that, but by accidentally running into this page, i feel like a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulder!! I’m glad right now that I’ve even thought about something like that, and others -including scientists- have thought about that too!
    gotta like this site! ^^

    • We’re so HAPPY to know this Wonder made you feel good about yourself, Remo! We think it’s a SUPER question and Wonder to ask! We hope you explore more of our Wonders soon! :)

    • Welcome, Bob Stinson! Color is “a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect.” Sometimes people can’t see color and this is known as color blindness, also called color vision deficiency. This is rarely a serious problem and most people go on to live a normal life. Check out this WONDER for more information. Wonder #533: How Can We Know if an Animal Is Color Blind?. Always keep WONDERing! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you see what I see?
  • Do all people see the same colors?
  • What causes differences in perception?

Wonder Gallery

Vimeo Video

Try It Out

1. So do you see what I see? Grab a friend or family member and put your perceptions to the test. 

Get pencils and pads of paper for each of you. Then head outside to focus on a particular scene. It could be a section of your yard, a garden, a group of trees…or whatever you want it to be!

Have each person focus on the same thing and then write down all the details that jump out at them. You can each draw a picture if you want, too. But try to concentrate on writing down as many details as you can about the scene you’re focusing on.

When you’re finished, compare your notes. Did you all see the same things? What did your friends and family members notice that you didn’t? Did one person see more detail than the others?

Isn’t it interesting how different your perceptions of the same things can be? Keep this in mind in the future, as it’s always wise never to assume that someone will see things exactly as you do!

2. Not only do people see colors differently, colors affect people differently, too. What does your response to colors say about your personality? Take this online color quiz and see what it says. Do you agree with the results? Share the quiz with your friends and family members and see what they think. 

3. What’s one way to know people see colors differently? Color blindness. If someone is color blind, it doesn’t necessarily mean that perso can’t see colors. Usually, it means he or she cannot differentiate between complementary colors. The most common type of color blindness involves the red/green pair of colors. Take these online color blind tests to see if you might be color blind. What about your friends and family?

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ Extreme Photography: Life Through the Lens of Jimmy Chin lesson, children explore how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions.

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