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Health and wellbeing in the ancient world
Health and wellbeing in the ancient world

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1.3 Hearing in colours

Today, colour blindness is a recognised condition, most commonly meaning that a person can’t distinguish between green and red. It’s normally present from birth and affects men more than women. This may be a problem in certain modern professions; for example, airline pilot, driver or electrician. But have people always seen colours in the same way? For example, in ancient Greece the colour chloros – the colour you are said to go when suffering from lovesickness – is sometimes translated as yellow, sometimes as green. Why do you think this is? Ancient wine is sometimes described in medical texts as ‘orange’, while Homer’s poetry famously refers to the ‘wine-dark’ sea. So are we seeing the same things?

Listen to Audio 1 in which Helen speaks to psychologist (and OU PhD student) John Harrison about colour perception and synaesthesia.

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Audio 1 Hearing in colours
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