Color lives in the memories, as well as the eyes, of the beholder, suggests a German study of how people perceive the ¿color, or colorlessness, of fruit. Karl ¿Gegenfurtner and his colleagues at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen put their subjects in front of a computer screen with digital images of fruits--a banana, for example--in brown, purple or any arbitrary color. The subjects were then instructed to use the computer's software to manipulate the fruits' color. When asked to make a gray--or colorless--banana, all 14 subjects made images that were slightly blue.
"In order for the banana to look a neutral gray, they had to make it bluish," Gegenfurtner says, "because a gray banana still looked yellow to them." The actual deviation from neutral gray varied between 4 and 13 percent, but all of them added blue, yellow's complimentary color (the one opposite it on a color wheel) to the images to make them look gray.
This article was originally published with the title The Remembrance of Fruits Past.