Psych M.D. - Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color theory)


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Term: Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory
Definition (Myers): The theory that the retina contains three different color receptors--one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue--which when stimulated in combination can produce the perception of any color.1
Definition (alternative): According to this theory of color vision, there are three receptors in the retina that are responsible for the perception of color. One receptor is sensitive to the color green, another to the color blue, and a third to the color red. These three colors can then be combined to form any visible color in the spectrum. 2
(Young-Helmholtz Trichromatic Theory of ColorVision)
Contextual explanation: In other words, Young and von Helmholtz knew that any color can be formed by combining the three primary colors--red, green, and blue. Moreover, it states that retina has three types of color receptors, each sensitive to one of three colors. Also, mixing lights is additive color mixing because it increases lights, combining red, blue, and green lights makes white light.

Related terms and concepts:
http://www.colourware.co.uk/cpfaq/pic3.gif
(Picture of Trichromatic theory of vision)

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(Video of Trichromatic theory of vision)



WAPA Citations:

  1. Myers, D. G. (2004). Psychology, 7th Edition (Hardcover), David Myers (7th ed.). New York: Worth.
  2. Cherry, K. (n.d.). Trichromatic Theory - Young Helmholtz Trichromatic Theory of Color Vision. Psychology - Student Resources - Psychology Articles. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://psychology.about.com/od/yindex/g/def_trichrom.htm
  3. Color Theory 3: Light Primary Colors . (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoL1Mn5v6GY
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Edited by: Anna



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