How many colors do you see? The validity of this test is questionable

Posted at 11:44 AM, Mar 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-03 11:34:48-05

Your Facebook friends may be falsely identifying themselves as tetrachromats, thanks to a color test that has been making the rounds.

After the color controversy over a black and blue dress, or is it white and gold, an article on LinkedIn that purports to explain why people see different colors is circulating this week.

The article, which cites Professor Diana Derval, who lists herself as an “Expert in Neuromarketing” on LinkedIn, shows a color spectrum and the reader is asked how many different variations of color can be distinguished.



According to the LinkedIn article, 25 percent of the population has a fourth cone and sees colors as they are.

LinkedIn listed these results for people who took the online color test, but the results may be misleading. (More on that below.)

Fewer than 20 color nuances: You are a dichromat, like a dog, and have only two types of cones. Derval said you are likely to wear black, beige and blue (25% of the population).

Between 20 and 32 color nuances: You are a trichromat. You have three types of cones in the purple/blue, green and red area (50% of the population).

Between 33 and 39+ color nuances: You are a tetrachromat. Like bees, you have four types of cones. Derval said you a likely irritated by yellow so this color won’t be found in your closet (25% of the population).

According to a posting on the rumor-busting website, the color test is fake and people are falsely identifying themselves as tetrachromats after taking it.

The article cites researchers at Newcastle University, who say computer screens do not provide enough color information and “it is therefore impossible for an online test to investigate tetrachromacy.

“Additionally, the claim that 25% of people are tetrachromats is inaccurate. While Jay Neitz, a color vision researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, estimated that half of the female population has a fourth cone in their eyes, only a small number of those people can actually see additional colors,” the article said.


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