By: Sadie Steffens, 4th year PhD candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program
Luke Jones (Flickr)
The paint color in our master bathroom has been a source of debate since we bought our house. While I am certain that the color is firmly in the purple part of the spectrum, my husband insists that the paint is blue. Period.
Visiting friends have often been asked to weigh in on this debate, and the outcome is fascinatingly similar every time. When asking couples to cast their votes, men instantly declare the color to be blue. Women, on the other hand, typically pause before suggesting something like “periwinkle” or “lavender blue.”
This phenomenon has been played out between men and women time and time again—from selecting clothing to disagreeing at the paint store about whether one hue of blue looks more purple than another. Although you may be tempted to write off this difference as a consequence of cultural conditioning, the true root is physiological.
By: Jordan Gaines Lewis, 4th year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program
Penn State College of Medicine is located in Hershey, the “Sweetest Place on Earth.” We’re surrounded by references to chocolate everyday—from the smell of it in the air to Kiss-shaped streetlamps to chocolate-brown paved roads. It’s a pretty sweet life.
So when The Hershey Company unveiled their new logo last month, I didn’t find anything unusual about it.
Credit: The Hershey Co.
That is, of course, until the Internet began comparing it to the poo emoji, popularized by Apple. Even after seeing the comparison, I still didn’t know what the big stink was about, so to speak.
Poo Emoji (WonderHowTo)
Why did some people immediately see a big, steaming turd when, obviously, it’s supposed to be a drop of chocolate topped with the iconic Kiss flag? Actually, understanding the cognitive processes behind visual recognition can explain everything from Hershey Kiss poop emojis to why we perceive animals in clouds and Mother Mary’s face in a piece of toast.
By: Andrew Huhn, 2nd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program
Have you ever had an overly philosophical conversation with a friend where you ask, “Do you think the color blue I see is the same color blue that you see?” There is no right way to answer this—because who knows, right? It’s interesting to think about how we interact with the world, and particularly how we interact with the visual world.
How does our eye perceive color, and is this perception the same for everyone?