We all know that men and women see some things differently, both literally and figuratively speaking. A recent study sheds new light on the differences between the male and female brain regarding color perception.

Have you ever been at a hardware store, attempting to pick a paint color for your home, and you and your significant other (opposite gender couples) can’t seem to agree on which color?

The female keeps insisting there is a huge difference between “island paradise” blue and “cerulean” blue while the male insists they look the same to him. This usually ends in one side throwing their hands up in frustration because the other side doesn’t listen to them. Is that really the case?

Not according to neuroscientists who have completed new studies. In these studies, led by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov, they found there are actual biological differences between how men and women perceive colors, in addition to things moving in front of them.

When it came to shades and hues of colors, women were actually better at picking subtle differences in colors.

They were also more receptive to blended colors – for instance, women can pick out “yellow-green” better than men can. To men in these studies, (on a large number scale) they often stated the color was yellow or green.

This is because men need a longer wavelength of light reflecting off the colors in order to see the same hues as women do. For example, since the color wheel shows warm colors like reds and oranges, and these colors are often associated with longer wavelengths, women seemed to see more “red” in warm colors than men. Also, colors that would normally be on the “green” side of things appeared more yellow to men than women.

Researchers who performed these studies say women are best at determining the colors, shades, and hues that are available; while men are better at being able to follow fast-moving objects with their eyes, as well as seeing details from a further distance.

The tests they ran for movement and distance consisted of flashing bars inside a bank of blinking lights, and men scored higher in the ability to not only track them better with their eyes but also determining details more accurately than women.

Researchers also speculate that this can be something to do with hunting and gathering, a long-time mechanism in each gender from the times we used to gather and hunt our own food.

This makes sense – women would need to be able to tell the differences in colors to make sure they didn’t bring home poisonous food, and men would need the ability to see animals far in the distance as it runs, and be able to see if the animal was worth the hunt.

Researchers who performed this test have evidence to believe this difference is, in part, developed differently according to hormones from thousands of years in evolution.

The visual cortex part of the brain, which controls your eyes and eyesight, is boosted more by testosterone and other male hormones – which means, on average, males are born with 25 percent more neurons in this part of their brain. This allows their visual cortex to develop in a different fashion than women’s.


  1. http://www.smithsonianmag.com
  2. http://www.livescience.com
  3. http://news.nationalgeographic.com

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