Sunday, March 18, 2018

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Yellow is the color of the tennis ball

week 28 (UP Medicine Tennis Court)

What color is a tennis ball? My answer is yellow. I learned recently that this is quite a divisive question.

The seemingly trivial question tore apart our usually congenial group. Lines were quickly and fiercely drawn, team green against team yellow, as my colleagues debated the very definition of color itself. Swords were brandished in the form of links to HTML color codes or the paint selection at Sherwin-Williams. Attempts to broker a cease-fire, to consider that maybe tennis balls are actually yellow-green—or green-yellow, or chartreuse—were brushed aside. At one point, I lashed out at a colleague who then reminded me we were on the same side.

The article offers a theory on color perception.

When we’re looking at a given object in different types of light, our brains make substantial color corrections that allow us to see the object in a stable color over most lighting conditions. Conway’s theory is that some people discount cool colors in their perception, while others discount warm colors, in order to view objects consistently as the light changes around them.

It goes even further: one's perception of the tennis ball color may shed light into one's lifestyle.

When we’re looking at a given object in different types of light, our brains make substantial color corrections that allow us to see the object in a stable color over most lighting conditions. Conway’s theory is that some people discount cool colors in their perception, while others discount warm colors, in order to view objects consistently as the light changes around them.

In my second year of residency in IM (sometime in mid-2016), I enrolled in a tennis class. The court was a few steps away from my dorm room. Never mind that the interns saw me sweat it all out.  Weng, my young instructor, said at one point that I had a good backhand. The last I heard about Weng was that he got married and moved to the province.

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