What It’s Like to See 100 Million Different Colors

Caitlin Schneider

The average person can see around one million colors, but many people exist on either extreme of that norm—and their view of the world is notably different.

Great Big Story talked to two of those people, Maureen and Wendy, who live on either end of the color spectrum. While Wendy is color-blind, Maureen is a tetrachromat, which means she has four types of cone cells in her retina, enabling her to see as many as 100 million colors (most people only have three types of cones).

Their very different relationships to color are well encapsulated by their remarks on shopping. Wendy says of the experience: “When I pick out clothes, that’s hard. I have been known to buy the outfit that the mannequin is wearing because I know that that goes together.”

Maureen, on the other hand, has an arguably more difficult time: “You don’t want to go clothing shopping with me because the sales people tell me, ‘But it matches,’ and I can only look at them sympathetically and keep looking.”

To hear more about their experiences, check out the video above.

Banner image via Great Big Story // YouTube.