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Are Babies Even Aware of Colours?

Posted May 22 2012 7:01am

A lot of people believe that babies see only in black and white for a number of weeks after birth.  It is not entirely clear where this rumour has come from, although it is believed it came from a quack scientist who simply managed to get a lot of exposure.  In reality, babies can see colours as soon as they are born.  However, they do have some trouble seeing a different between different shades of the same colour.  Because of this, babies enjoy black and white patterns or other contrasting colours, because they are better able to distinguish between them.  You would be surprised at how fast a baby’s vision develops however.  In fact, when they are four months old, a baby may already have a favourite colour.

It is certainly true that at birth, the visual acuity of a baby is incredibly poor.  It is best compared to the vision of an adult who is only able to read the very top letter on a vision test at the optician (by the way, this is usually an A or an E).  Their worlds, in other words, are very blurry.  However, blurry does not mean they are blind, or even colour blind (although some children are colour blind to some degree or even fully of course).  As soon as a child is born, the blur they see does have certain colours and shades.  Furthermore, they are very capable of distinguishing contrasts.  Because black and white are the most famous contrast, many people opt for this.  However, red and green or purple and yellow work just as well.

The brain of a baby works very quickly in starting to distinguish colours.  Babies of only four months have a clear preference for certain colours and are able to tell different colours apart without much difficulty.  Most babies, however, have many preferences within the wide spectrum of colours, as they marvel at each of the different shades and tones.  Scientific researchers have suggested that even if a baby demonstrates a very clear preference for a specific colour, parents should still make sure their baby is exposed to a wide range of colours.  This is why it is actually not recommended to have a completely pink room for a girl or blue room for a boy.  Or even if you don’t believe in the whole colour-gender differentiation, it is still important to not have a room in just one single colour or shade.

Unfortunately, it is possible that your baby is colour blind.  If colour blindness runs in the family, it is more likely that your baby also suffers from it.  Colour blindness is a very wide spectrum, with some people unable to differentiate between specific colours (often red and green) or between different shades.  These people will see all blues, as blue and all greens as green for instance.  Then, there are the very few that truly do not see any colour, and only experience white, gray and black.  Others can see all colours except for yellow and blue.  Because of these differences, it is very hard to actually recognize a child is colour blind at a young age.  It is normal for babies to only see single colours, rather than shades, for quite some time and if they fall into the category that they cannot differentiate between shades (the most common form of colour blindness), a parent or health care professional may not become aware of this until a child is much older.

Because children love colours from such a young age, using  kids wall stickers  in a child’s room is a great way to allow a child to develop their knowledge and understanding of colours.

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