Talk:1213: Combination Vision Test

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Number is "42". The 4 is composed of 2's and 3's and 7's. The 2 is composed of 3's and 7's and 9's. --RainbowDash (talk) 05:16, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

What about 7s? -- 06:13, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Also both have 5's. I'm not very good at this counting thing. That link below is way better, anyhow. --RainbowDash (talk) 05:28, 17 May 2013 (UTC)


Thanks --Zom-B (talk) 07:06, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm not confident enough about this to write up an explanation, but given that synesthesia is a sensory experience where the senses blend into each other (hearing colors, tasting sounds, etc...) that a round shape or black and white (why is it not in color? that would help the joke imho) give the sense of a number to the synesthete. The alt text at least makes sense, seeing two big numbers fits with diplopia (double vision) and the squinting covers myopia (nearsightedness) so it is consistent with the main joke, but I feel like I'm really missing something in the main joke. Chexwarrior (talk) 06:43, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

In the original b&w image, I keep seeing an 8 on the right and a vague 0, 9, or 4 on the left. I'm not certain if the b&w actually has a definite "answer" or specific number(s) one is supposed to be seeing. I seem to recall an xkcd with an Ishihara test before (but can't find it so it may just be a confabulation), in which case this one may be a reference to that and actually have a referential "answer".

I'm not an optometrist, but Chexwarrior,'s explanation of the alt text seems correct to me. Plazma (talk) 07:00, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

On the left half, the number 9 is missing. Similarly, on the right the number 2 is missing. This makes the number 92 or 29 (any ideas?). There is a floating 2 in the bottom center, the origin is unknown but it does look like a decimal point but that yould defeat the purpose of the number 42 (any ideas?) --Zom-B (talk) 07:06, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I was thinking the explanation of the descriptive text (not alt-text) is as follows: the synesthesia is seeing numbers and associating colors with them. So when you look at the numbers in the image, you see certain colors, so the large numbers stand out because they are different colors from the background. But if you're colorblind, (hypothetically) then some of those number-colors might look the same and so the numbers (not sure why only one) would not be visible. Bplimley (talk) 07:18, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Maybe if the synesthesia is as follows: Even numbers get one color and odd numbers get another color. I was actually able to see the 2 because of this effect, while I was in photoshop, zoomed in, and coloring the 3's. I know from myself that I have number to color synesthesia, but (in my case) that doesn't apply to a bunch of randomly placed digits like here, but only to complete numbers like "144" looks yellow, red, and white (in no particular order), while "38" looks grayish dark blue. --Zom-B (talk) 07:22, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I seriously doubt ANYONE have so "hard" case of number to color synesthesia it can "color" a bunch of randomly placed digits like this. Like ... if your number-recognizing neurons are working on the small numbers, how can they work on the big numbers in the same time? -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:01, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Good catch! I'm not sure how exactly how synesthesia works, but even if the perceived number (due to a perceived colour) further incites a perceived colour, you can still have a combined diagnostic. You just have to make sure that the big number is made up of little ones of the same number; or, atleast made of other numbers which are of the same colour as the desired big number. The latter requires that you assume synesthesia is one way only (for instance - perceiving number triggers colour, but not vice versa) 11:00, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
No no, it pretty much works! I've got colored-grapheme synesthesia, and while the numbers don't jump out at me as easily as they would if they were made of real colors, I am able to see them pretty clearly if I lean close enough to my monitor to be able to take in all of the small numbers' shapes at once. I posted a description of what it looks like to me here: Rungy Chungy Cheese Bees It's a bit harder for me to see because I'm an "associator" type of synesthete, as opposed to a "projector" type. But I imagine for a true projector synesthete this would be about as easy as a normal Ishihara colorblindness test. Otherthings (talk) 20:35, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

<Nitpicking> The alt text is slightly off the mark isn't it? Wouldn't a diplopic(?) person see two images of the diagnostic rather than two numbers in the same diagnostic? Also, you needn't be colour blind to fulfill the condition of perceiving only one digit. Your synesthesia might have a colour blindness, while your optical system does not. </Nitpicking> 11:07, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I think that as no two... synaesthetes? ...have exactly the same 'conversion routine' in place that one can't assume the colour dominance of either digit, under an (actual, or synaesthetic) colour-blindness condition. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to hear "Well, the left hand side smells a bit like a 4, but the right sounds like a 2..." ;) 12:54, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I will take some LSD and look at this and report back later! 16:22, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't think myopia actually makes sense, unless you're reading the comic on a large screen 30 or 40 feet away. The comic is most probably near you, if you're near-sighted you should see it in focus without squinting. 17:19, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

As a myopic person, I can say that you are generalizing too much. Without glasses, I can see no thing in focus unless it is 2-4 inches from my face75.69.96.225 20:22, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I see a big zero!

In the end this test couldn't work, colorblindness is due to a physical effect in the eyeball where synesthesia works in the brain, if someone had both synesthesia and colorblindness then the two numbers in the circle above would be the _only_ color they could see (although being colorblind they may not understand it to be a color at that point) Odysseus654 (talk) 19:37, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

It's a JOKE. Sure it does not work for many more reasons. But the combining of all this things is hard to understand and it did last a couple of hours until the first people did understand. In my opinion this is one of the BEST jokes Randall ever did.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:47, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Yah, I laughed pretty hard when I saw it last night. Still worth explaining all the intracacies, like people wondering what's wrong with "Locate City" nukes Odysseus654 (talk) 20:10, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

As a colorblind person, I would like to point out that it is not obvious to everybody that a normal person sees neither large number. At first glance, I assumed that normal people see both numbers, colorblind people see neither, and synthesesia allows colorblind people to see one. 20:22, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

No, even normal people can't see the numbers because the image is just black and white. But that's just the first joke. Synthesesia in this comic just do see colours on black and white pictures.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:36, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Shouldn't the big-4 and big-2 have it's own color? The big-4 might then blend with the background 4's.

What's with the extraneous little-2 underneath the big numbers also? 21:32, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

We are just talking about "colorblind persons" here. I am trying to help them to understand because they even they can`t see that the original picture is just B/W. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:12, 17 May 2013 (UTC)