Young–Helmholtz theory

The trichromatic theory or trichromatic theory, or Young- Helmholtz theory is a historical theory of color vision in the human eye. It was developed in 1850 primarily by Hermann von Helmholtz, on the basis of an earlier theory of Thomas Young.

At the current state of knowledge of physiology see the article color perception.

Helmholtz had observed that you can mix any other color of colored light of three primary colors (This is still the functional principle of the color television screens and color monitors ). Similarly, he suggested that there are three types of receptors in the eye. You react differently sensitive to different wavelengths of light. Gray and white are perceived when all three receptors types are equally excited. Black is seen when none of the receptor types is stimulated.

In fact, succeeded the late 19th century, the detection of three different color sensory cells in the retina. The color-vision deficiency, which occurs when one of the three cell types lacking genetic, blends in well with the trichromatic theory. Other phenomena could be better explained by the opponent color theory. The theory dispute was very stimulating for physiology; numerous scientists of the 19th century commented on the color perception.

Hermann Grassmann formulated this fact in his first law.