You pose a very interesting question which gets
at the heart of Cognitive Science, which is
the field interested in studying intelligence
from the perspectives of neuroscience, psychology,
and computer science, to name just a few
Perception is very much a result of what we
experience and how we report it. Perception of
color depends on what kind of blindness a person
has. In general, I think it might not be possible
for a blind person to experience color.
However,the brain is very plastic (able to
change) so with the proper stimulation it might be
able to perceive something to the effect of
For the most part, normal vision
people experience color due to the receptors in
the retina (your eye ball). There are
photoreceptors called cones (think cones
with a C and color with a C and you'll always
remember this). However, what you report as
"green" might be experienced differently by you
than it is by me.
A philosopher by the name of John Locke wrote
about this when he spoke about the Inverted
Spectrum problem. You should consider doing a
biography on him for a class project.
Your question asks about people who are
congenitally blind, that is they have not
seen since they were born. There are different
kinds of blindness. One kind is where the
retina is damaged, in which case the receptors are
damaged. Another case is where the optic nerve,
which sends information from the receptors to the
brain, gets severed.
An eye ball, which contains the retina, is
connected to the brain by a wire, the optic
nerve. If this nerve is cut, then the
information from the eye will not get to the
brain, which is the amazing organ which
allows us to see. Another sort of blindness is
cortical blindness, when the brain area
dedicated to vision (which is called area
V1) is damaged. It is named V1 because V is
for vision and one (1) is for its importance for
primary vision. Area V4 is responsible for
responding to color.
People who are cortically blind still have the
same receptors on the retina as normal vision
people. Although they cannot report being
consciously able to see,they are able to process
things unconsciously. For example, they can
see a dot flashed very quickly (evidenced by them
pointing to it and catch a ball thrown at them.
You might also want to do a report on a
phenomena called synesthesia, which is the
ability to taste a color. I don't mean
chewing on crayons! People with synesthesia are
able to get multisensory stimulation form
seeing colors. Blind people might
experience this due to the brain's plasticity.
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