Sunday, October 12, 2008

What it means.

I got that question a lot in the comments. First, thanks to all who participated, and of course if you want to continue, do so, by all means.

Mostly, I was just curious about the color acuity of the population at large. Unfortunately I was brain-dead when I asked everyone to take the test, because you guys aren't the general population, either. Anyone hanging around here for more than five minutes is probably interested in color anyway, and I suspect fiberheads in general are more sensitive to color than the average person, and that's what gets them knitting in the first place. (How many of us knit, in part, because we can knit the sweater in exactly the color we want? It's part of the motivation for nearly everyone.) I figured anyone cruising a color web site and being willing to take that test would of course self-select a group that was interested in color and therefore probably had decent color vision. So I asked you guys to do it. And wound up with another self-selecting group of people who are likely good at color. (Incidentally, this kind of thing is exactly how bad science happens in the real world. Terby, I hear you shaking your head and rolling your eyes at me.) The test scores back it up; knitters, at least the ones hanging around here, are average-or-better at color acuity. Thanks to those of you who dragooned your spouses into participating. THAT was interesting. I'm working on getting the husbeast to take it - he's passed all the military color-blindness tests, so he's a good 'control' for the whole test.

I also strongly suspect the scores are skewed by how much the testee gives a shit, but that's a problem for another day. Haha.

There was no pass/fail on the test. It's nothing but a rough estimate of how good your color vision is. Really, average is better. Most people with really good color vision drive themselves insane because nothing matches. I knew I was weird when I found myself looking at a DMC color card containing something like 600 colors, and NONE OF THEM WERE THE RIGHT ONE.

When the in-laws were last here, we all wound up at the local Chico's, shopping. My mother-in-law was putting together a sort of do-it-yourself twinset of shirt and sweater, and was worried about them matching. I pointed out that they were of different fiber content so even if they'd been put in literally the exact same dye pot, they would not be the same color. And since the store had fluorescent lights the point was moot anyway. Eventually I hauled a bunch of stuff to the window and chose the ones that looked the closest. During this, the husbeast was explaining to the manager of the store, who looked a little shell-shocked. The manager then asked if I was buying the white pants because they would match everything. I said no, I was going to die dye them. Poor woman. From what I've read, this nutty behavior is 'normal' for people with good color vision. I drive myself insane, and likely those around me.

Anyway, it's a continuing interest of mine - obviously. Thanks for humoring me.

8 comments:

Bells said...

I didn't get time to do the test over the weekend. Are you still looking for results?

Brewgal said...

My score is 27. Sheesh. Apparently I have trouble distinguishing in the orange range.

Anonymous said...

I scored 12.

Trish

Alwen said...

That was very interesting. I've been interested in color vision stuff ever since I ran my little brother through the colorblindness test in the encyclopedia and he couldn't see the 7.

I did a little internet rummaging and had to roll eyes at the big deal the tetrachromat researchers are making over "Can the brain possibly make any use of this possible fourth channel of data?"

These guys need to wander over to the neuroplasticity researchers and have a little talk!

And I would think besides mothers of colorblind men, sisters of colorblind men (raises hand) would be interesting for them to look at.

Maybe that's why I pick combinations that make no sense to other people. Hmmm, same as I pick combinations that make no sense to my red-green blind brothers.

Danby said...

OK, I scored a 7 on the test. I have been interested in color all my life and have dyed my own fiber through all phases of my work...weaving, quilting, and now knitting. I'm 71, BTW...have even taught classes in dying and color theory, but the one thing I don't obsess over, and try to convince others not to, is to try to match colors perfectly.

I think that all colors look good together, it is simply a matter of finding the correct hue to put together a harmonius palette...not hard to do...just look at the nature around you.

So, what does that say about me?

Arianne said...

"I knew I was weird when I found myself looking at a DMC color card containing something like 600 colors, and NONE OF THEM WERE THE RIGHT ONE."

I've done this. (Only with a sample card of Roving from a wool works recently).

On the plus side if ever you buy a colour of something and can't figure out what colour it was that you bought you stand a good chance of matching it to the shade card or to another colour or to whatever IF it exists.

Unfortunatley if they did what this wool company did and subtly changed their dye colours since last year. I don't know WHY, if they changed their dye formulas or WHAT but suddenly the particular shade of olive green I bought on 3 separate occasions over the past year now does not match ANY colour on their sample card for 2008/09. I sent a sample of MY roving so that they could tell me what colour their sample card MEANT it to match and they pointed me to a colour that CLEARLY isn't the same colour as it was last year.


I don't normally freak out about exact matching...but this will teach me to get all that I need for each project BEFORE I start.

(Also, don't get me started on dye-lots. I get a bit crazy when dyelots aren't perfectly matched...I guess even within the same dye bath there's a chance that one will be more saturated than another, that one portion of the fibre will absorb more dye than another...but they're supposed to match. Sometimes they do...sometimes they don't. When they don't I get cross.)

Sarah said...

Hmm, I wonder if I can convince The Dude to take the test? I never thought I'd score so well, and it's unfortunate that scores are going to depend highly on monitor set-up.

But, on the other hand, so many variegated yarns really bug me, because poorly-dyed ones don't have consistent color through the skein, much less skein to skein. To some it's charming, but to me I want the red at the toes to match the red at the cuff, or whatever.

Anonymous said...

whoa, not bad. Caught up with your blog just had to take the test. Your score: 4
Gender: Female
Age range: 40-49
Hooo-eee! Yeah, baby.
Yup. Pure knitter skilz. If I spent a little more time actually comparing all the blocks (I grunt-ran thru it) I prob. could have gotten 0, then. And, all bets on my own husbeast? He would have gotten over 50, I'm sure!