Color Detection: Using Psychophysics to Analyze the Visual System

When: Friday, September 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Where: SH 320
Speaker: Rhea T. Eskew, Jr.
Organization: Department of Psychology
Sponsor: PRISM

The past 30 years have been a golden age for the study of color vision. Two developments have been central: (a) ever increasing knowledge about the very first stage of vision – the absorption of quanta of light by the photoreceptors of the retina; and (b) improvements in technology for presenting lights as stimuli. Putting these two together has allowed scientists to study the very early stages of vision in unprecedented ways. In particular, it is now easily possible to functionally isolate one type of photoreceptor and study its contribution to perception, and how its signals combine with the other types of photoreceptors. Using these tools, psychophysicists have discovered much about the early stages of color vision, and there is general agreement about many of the features of the system. However, controversies persist, and the field remains an active and exciting area for further study.