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Why do we think mirrors are silver?


Anchovyforestbane
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Generally, when we look at a mirror, we do not attribute a color to it. That is because we are not thinking of the mirror as we look at it, but rather whatever it is we are using the mirror to reflect; therefore, to us, the mirror is the color of whatever it is we're using it to observe. However, presume you had a flawlessly polished ball of some aluminum alloy; one would generally agree, observing this ball, that it is grayish/silverish in color. However, upon closer inspection, it would be revealed that, much like a mirror, it simply reflects all colors around it, also simply being whatever color it is used to observe. If the mirror and the aluminum alloy were to swap roles suddenly, would we unquestioningly attribute no color to the alloy, and upon cursory assessment attribute a grayish/silverish color to the mirror? Either way, what is the cause of this phenomenon, neuropsychiatrically speaking?

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59 minutes ago, Anchovyforestbane said:

Generally, when we look at a mirror, we do not attribute a color to it. That is because we are not thinking of the mirror as we look at it, but rather whatever it is we are using the mirror to reflect; therefore, to us, the mirror is the color of whatever it is we're using it to observe. However, presume you had a flawlessly polished ball of some aluminum alloy; one would generally agree, observing this ball, that it is grayish/silverish in color. However, upon closer inspection, it would be revealed that, much like a mirror, it simply reflects all colors around it, also simply being whatever color it is used to observe. If the mirror and the aluminum alloy were to swap roles suddenly, would we unquestioningly attribute no color to the alloy, and upon cursory assessment attribute a grayish/silverish color to the mirror? Either way, what is the cause of this phenomenon, neuropsychiatrically speaking?

One is a mirror and the other isn't.

Get back to basics on mirrors and explain why a mirror changes your left side to your right but it doesn't change your head to your tail. 

Then when you master that, really challenge yourself further by lying on your side or turning the mirror 90 degrees!

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On 10/19/2020 at 2:27 PM, montgomery said:

One is a mirror and the other isn't.

Get back to basics on mirrors and explain why a mirror changes your left side to your right but it doesn't change your head to your tail. 

Then when you master that, really challenge yourself further by lying on your side or turning the mirror 90 degrees!

Congratulations, you've managed to contribute exactly nothing to the question.

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49 minutes ago, Anchovyforestbane said:

Congratulations, you've managed to contribute exactly nothing to the question.

My answer for you is the best you'll get. And you're damn lucky to get even that. I won't bother in the future if you can't rise above the colour of a mirror.

Can you answer my questions?

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1 hour ago, montgomery said:

My answer for you is the best you'll get. And you're damn lucky to get even that. 

Before anything else I must inquire why you've been so antagonistic towards me in the past few days. Do you pick fights with everyone, or do you simply dislike me in particular for some reason?

 

1 hour ago, montgomery said:

I won't bother in the future if you can't rise above the colour of a mirror.

In case you weren't paying attention (which, let's be honest, you most likely were not), I did not ask what color mirrors were. Rather, I asked about the neuropsychiatry of the perception of reflective surfaces. If you're going to pick a fight, at the very least know the fight you're picking. 

 

1 hour ago, montgomery said:

Can you answer my questions?

Even those without a detailed grasp of physics could answer that question. 
If one were to take a two-dimensional figure of a human with a mark on their left cheek, and create an inverted copy of it, these two images become nonsuperimposable. This is essentially what would happen if two humans, each with a mark on their left cheek, were to face each other; from the other person's perspective, due to the opposite person having been rotated 180 degrees relative to them, the images perceived are nonsuperimposable.
A mirror however, does not have eyes. It reflects light which it contacts back outwards, thus creating an image equivalent to what one might see if they could see a person's front from behind. Your right side is the right side of the image, and your left side is the left side of the image; that is to say, the image is superimposable with your own perspective.

Edited by Anchovyforestbane
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Thanks for telling us that the mirror doesn't have eyes. I suppose that will have to do for an answer for now.

And to get back to your original question on why we observe the colour of the ball if that question is asked of us, it's logical to think a person would answer correctly. As to asking the same question about the colour of the mirror, a person would have to give the same answer. It would be deceptive to try to say that the mirror is the colour of that which is reflected. 

The only difference is that one is a mirror and the other isn't a mirror. Maybe it would help if you broke the mirror into tiny pieces so you can see the colour more clearly?

I mean really! When you look at a steel ball, do you attribute a colour to it? I don't and never have, and I don't think I've ever been asked. I can say the same about my mirrors too.

Perhaps we're not understanding each other because you think of colours when you see mirrors and steel balls? 

Can you expand on what you're trying to say now that I see you are quite serious about colours?

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From what I'm hearing, either I'm the odd one out for experiencing this illusion, or you're the odd one out for not having experienced the illusion. And I'm certain that it isn't the former, as my discovery of others who have is what catalyzed the question.
Furthermore, photophysically speaking, most mirrors (that is to say, standard glass and chromium mirrrors) absorb less and reflect more of light wavelengths closer to green. If one had no choice but to attribute a color to a mirror, scientifically speaking, the answer would be green. However, in most cases this is imperceptible to the human eye, so it isn't relevant to the topic anyway.

I do not believe steel would work for this illusion; it is unmistakably grayish/silverish and could not be seen otherwise. Polished aluminum/chromium, for example,  is more what the question is focused on. Such materials, when polished, would have similar characteristics to a mirror. A possibility is that the expectation of metal to be grayish/silverish, in combination with a subconsciously perceived lack of any specific color, might contribute to the consciously perceived silverish color. My question, specifically, is how this process works on a neuropsychiatric level.

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2 hours ago, montgomery said:

Line up a bunch of different metals and observe the different colours. Then tell me how nickle and silver look so different. You might want to throw in a mirror too for the colour comparison. Why you haven't noticed this already, who knows? 

What colour was the steel?

Nickel also would not work, it is too pale. Steel and silver have the opposite problem.

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16 hours ago, Anchovyforestbane said:

Nickel also would not work, it is too pale. Steel and silver have the opposite problem.

You didn't even try to look at different metals for different colours. If you did you would be reporting back that nickle and steel have a bluish appearance while silver is much more greyish. 

Your broken and ground up mirror will have a colour tint too. What colour is it?

Nickle is pale? It's just the opposite but you haven't looked at the colour of polished Nickle.

Edited by montgomery
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9 minutes ago, montgomery said:

You didn't even try to look at different metals for different colours. If you did you would be reporting back that nickle and steel have a bluish appearance while silver is much more greyish. 

Your broken and ground up mirror will have a colour tint too. What colour is it?

Nickle is pale? It's just the opposite but you haven't looked at the colour of polished Nickle.

Perhaps we're looking at two different grades of metal, or perhaps one of us are colorblind. Either way, I have indeed observed polished metallic elements of all kinds, from silicon, to chromium, even osmium at one point (Osmium has a very peculiar reaction when polished. Can you tell me what that reaction is?).

Polished nickel is pale, almost white in appearance when polished. Steel, silver, and elemental silicon, when polished, are substantially darker shades of gray. Aluminum, chromium, and silicon carbide, when polished, have the mirror effect aforementioned. Not because they don't have a color, but because it reflects enough light well enough for the color to be imperceptible unless it is looked for, either consciously or subconsciously.

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57 minutes ago, Anchovyforestbane said:

Perhaps we're looking at two different grades of metal, or perhaps one of us are colorblind. Either way, I have indeed observed polished metallic elements of all kinds, from silicon, to chromium, even osmium at one point (Osmium has a very peculiar reaction when polished. Can you tell me what that reaction is?).

Polished nickel is pale, almost white in appearance when polished. Steel, silver, and elemental silicon, when polished, are substantially darker shades of gray. Aluminum, chromium, and silicon carbide, when polished, have the mirror effect aforementioned. Not because they don't have a color, but because it reflects enough light well enough for the color to be imperceptible unless it is looked for, either consciously or subconsciously.

I'm not colour blind. No, I haven't looked at Osmium and don't intend to.  

You're being dishonest with me on the colour shades of different metals. I'm not going to entertain that with you any longer.

Suffice to say, some metals can be polished to a mirror finish and in fact we often see metal mirrors that are indistinguishable from glass mirrors.

Edited by montgomery
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1 hour ago, montgomery said:

You're being dishonest with me on the colour shades of different metals. I'm not going to entertain that with you any longer.

I don't intend to make you, though I do suspect that you've simply realized you don't know what you're talking about and are attempting to cover it up with underhanded denigration.

 

1 hour ago, montgomery said:

Suffice to say, some metals can be polished to a mirror finish and in fact we often see metal mirrors that are indistinguishable from glass mirrors.

I'm fully aware of this, hence having asked the original question.

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