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Discover Magazine looks at super human vision

Okay, I must confess that a serious misreading of a blog entry title - "The Super-Seers Who Live Among Us" - piqued my curiosity about this topic. You see, I thought the "seers" in the headline was actually seer, the noun, as in someone who can see what the future holds. And I, naturally, imagined ordinary people wearing wizard capes underneath everyday clothes, discretely offering predictions to help friends and family avoid difficult situations.

But I digress. The real story is no less interesting, but appears to be much more grounded in reality. It turns out that some researchers think a unknown number women may perceive colors invisible to the rest of us. Veronique Greenwood reports:

Researchers suspect, though, that some people see even more. Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colors invisible to the rest. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colors, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names, no paint swatches. And because perceiving color is a personal experience, they would have no way of knowing they see far beyond what we consider the limits of human vision.

Over the course of two decades, Newcastle University neuroscientist Gabriele Jordan and her colleagues have been searching for people endowed with this super-vision. Two years ago, Jordan finally found one. A doctor living in northern England, referred to only as cDa29 in the literature, is the first tetrachromat known to science. She is almost surely not the last.

The rest of the story is well worth reading, even if there are no wizard capes involved.

Photo by Jenni from the Block
Via 80beats

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