how we test some animals’ colorblindedness


… and also how we can be sure about that data, considering that we humans don’t see all colors ourselves?

In: 10

Some animals? When you ask that do you mean a single animal in particular or a species? The way species colour perception was tested was in the 60s to 80s when animal testing was a little more open than currently. The were able to open the animals head and insert probes to detect brain activity, they would then restrain the animal to focus on a fixed area and then stimulate it with lights and colours to see what they could detect. I remember watching an old video on it in highschool where they also showed that they did the same with animals to test heat perception and a few other things.

Humans do see all colors. We don’t do it by ourselves, but with the aid of specialized equipment like infrared cameras, antennas and, detectors, we can translate those other frequencies of light into ones we naturally see.

Animals can be trained to do certain things.

For example: you can train a dog/bird/rat/etc. that touching a dot with a triangle on it means the trainer will give it a treat. Place a bunch of white dots across a table/floor, with only one having the triangle, and the animal will walk over and touch the triangle one.

Now, just change up the colors. If it recognizes the yellow triangle on the blue dots, it can differentiate those colors. If it CAN’T tell which red dot has a green triangle on it, it will wander around instead of tapping the correct one (because they all look the same to it).

By doing this with many color combinations, scientists can figure out which base colors the animal can and can’t see.

To answer your human perception question: we can’t see all “colors” with our naked eyes, but we can build machines that detect basically every wavelength possible. If we can’t see it, our machines definitely can.