Science Questions

Why is black and white better than red and white?

Sat, 14th Oct 2006

Part of the show Science of Sight, Eye Diseases and Animal Vision

Question

Joitzna via email asked:

Why is it that we're perfectly comfortable with black and white movies and photographs when we know that the world is in colour, but the same picture in reds, green or any single shade of colour doesn't seem to have the same satisfying effect? It's ok to substitute a colour with a grey tone, but not shades of other colours.

Answer

I can fairly say that I don't really know the answer to that. I suspect that it's just what we're used to. We're used to seeing colour photographs and we're used to seeing black and white photographs. But we're not really used to seeing red TV or green TV. I suspect that it's just what we're familiar with.

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