Color vision between peole is very different. As we were discussing, some people are color blind, and some people have four wavelengths that they absorb light with. I also think that color and shape recognition can be a learned phenomena. After years of painting classes, I am much more attuned to color than most peole. I also pay a lot of attention to the particular shape of objets. I notice this enhanced perception in most aspects of my life. When my family goes backpacking, I always notice animals and flowers before any one else.I have noticed brown seals on brown rocks more than half a mile away, during dusk. What I noticed was that the pattern of light on the seals skin was more smooth and the pattern of light on the rocks. But besides this variation in pattern, there was no way to tell that it was a seal. The rest of my family could not see even when I pointed it out, and had to walk much closer to distinguish the seal from the rock. I am also very particular about assymentry in objects which should be symmetric. I shall never be satisfied by any pot that I make because I cannot make it perfectly symmetrical. This also translates into another phenomena. Becuase I concentrate so much on individual shapes, I cannot see those "hidden pictures" that are now popular. I cannot blur the overlaying confusion of colors to see the hidden picture underneath, even if I know exactly what the picture underneath should be. But I do pick out irregularites in the color spots on the top of the picture.

I think that some of this is a genetic phenomena, as I have always been good at finding animals and I have always had very good night vision. But I also think that this has a lot to do with my artistic training. In drawing, every angle of the obect must be scrutinized and compared to many other objects. The size of everything is compared to the size of everything else, and you become much more aware of shading. Also, I am very aware of all the variations of color in paint, so perhaps I am more attuned to diffences in color in life. It takes me hours to finish a painting, because I can tell variations in color between brushstrokes, and unless they are intentional, I have to fix them.I think that this training then carries over into a mechanism that becomes automatic, almost like learning to ride a bike. Perhaps the regions that compare color and shading become enhanced, or operate more quickly, so that you recive more information. While I cannot obviously see what everybody else sees, I think that there are great variations in what people really see, and that all of us have a very differnt perception of reality.

Wonderful set of issues from personal experience. Thank you. Yes, indeed, people see things differently. And yes, indeed, genetic and experiential influences both can contribute to those differences. Indeed, they can mutually influences each other. Your stories suggest the possibility that you saw things differently from others (at least in your family) before you became interested in art/painting, which in turn may contributed to making you interested in art/painting, which in turn further made you see things differently from others. Another interesting issue which your experiences raise is where in the nervous system the differences are. Seeing the seal on the rock a long ways away might have to do with focus or with aspects of acuity related to retinal structure or with something more central in the nervous system (or with all of them). The attention to differences others don't notice sounds more like an "I-function" phenomenon (though it might itself by triggered by something different in the pre "I-function" realm). Anyhow, its a wonderful set of thoughts, well worth persuing further. The relation between brain function and art has intrigued both scientists and artists for some time, there has been a fair amount written about it, and there remains at that interface a lot to explore. Let me know if you'd like to spend more time on it. PG