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Sensory Roundup

December 23, 2005

You may be surprised to learn what colorblind people can see.


What the colorblind actually see. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Colorblind people should actually be called color-different. New research in the journal Current Biology has shown that some types of colorblindness allow people to see the difference between colors that look the same to people with normal vision. This happens because one of their retinal cones is optimized to absorb higher-frequency light than normal. The scientists conclude that some colorblindness is not blindness at all but rather sensitivity to a different "color dimension."

In other news about the senses, researchers report in the journal Science that kittens born deaf and given cochlear implants developed auditory brain connections similar to those of hearing cats. The scientists say this adds to the evidence that cochlear implants can help human children develop normal auditory systems, but only if they’re implanted early.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.