Test Your Color Perception Skills (and See How They Stack Up Against Your Fellow Humans)

iStock.com/scyther5
iStock.com/scyther5

Being able to perceive a wide spectrum of colors takes more than great eyesight. Your color perception depends on several factors, including your color vocabulary, your home country, and the languages you speak. That's part of why two people can look at the same image of a dress and see completely different color schemes.

To test how your color perception stacks up against the rest of the population, take the free color test from Lenstore UK below. You'll be given a series of tasks, such as identifying the lightest shade of a certain color, matching two identical shades, and filling in a gradient color pattern with the missing hue. After answering 10 questions, the test tells you how many you got right.

Don't be too upset if you didn't do as well as you had hoped: Less than 1 percent of the 2000 people Lenstore surveyed scored a perfect 10 out of 10. The most common score was 6 out of 10, with 24.1 percent of respondents getting this result.

Lenstore also found that test results varied by demographic: Typically, women perceive colors better than men, and elderly people perceive them more poorly than younger adults (color perception peaks in both men and women in their early 30s). When breaking down the data by country, people from Cyprus came out on top, with an average test score of 6.6 out of 10. Additionally, speaking two or more languages boosted the test-taker's chances of earning a higher score.

The way we talk about color plays a big role in how we perceive it. There are five more base colors in the Japanese language than there are in English, including distinct words for yellow-green and light blue. And scholars have long been puzzled by Homer's description of a "wine-dark" sea in The Odyssey—a possible indication that words to describe dark blue hadn't been invented in that part of the world yet.

One way to potentially improve your color perception is by broadening your color vocabulary. Lenstore's study found that people with a greater knowledge of color names scored higher on the test. You can find some color names you've likely never heard of here.

Start Your Morning Right With the Alarm Clock That Makes You Coffee

For those who can't function in the morning, a cup of coffee is key. For those who can't even function enough to make that cup of coffee, there's the Barisieur. This innovative alarm clock (now available at Urban Outfitters) awakens the sleeper with the smell of coffee and the gentle rattle of stainless steel ball bearings as the water boils.

Take sugar or milk? There's a special compartment for milk so the liquid stays fresh and cool until you're ready to use it in the morning. On the front, there's a drawer for sugar. The whole tray can even be removed for easy cleaning.

Not a coffee fan? The Barisieur also brews loose-leaf tea.

The milk vessel of the coffee alarm clock
Barisieur, Urban Outfitters

The gadget also has an actual alarm that can be set to sound before or during the coffee making process. 

This invention was thought up by product designer Joshua Renouf as part of his studies at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Though the idea started as just a prototype for class back in 2015, Renouf managed to make it a reality, and you can now buy one of your very own.

At $445, the alarm clock is quite an investment, but for coffee lovers who have trouble forcing themselves out of bed, it might be more than worth it. Go ahead, picture waking up slowly to the smell of roasted coffee beans and only having to sit up in bed and enjoy.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

[h/t: Design-Milk.com]

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the product's current availability.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER