Lecture “Color perception and Memory — The impact of color on our experience and behavior”

Seeing Colors International Symposium on Color Vision 19.-21.09.16 Universität Regensburg

Our “Color-Memory-Maps” show the complex structure of color memory and its effects on human behavior, which varies with context. Our findings will be presented for the first time to the scientific community at the symposium.

Rationale for the symposium

Col­or vision is a preva­lent sen­so­ry modal­i­ty in mod­ern soci­ety. We use col­or to com­mu­ni­cate mes­sages (“red means stop”), to high­light select­ed infor­ma­tion, to denote the nation­al iden­ti­ty (the col­ors in each country’s flag), and to enhance the salience of oth­er­wise unno­ticed infor­ma­tion. It has a pow­er­ful role in group­ing, which is why sub­way maps are often shown in col­or and vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to use when print­ed in grey scale. Col­or is abun­dant in nature and is used by ani­mals to dis­crim­i­nate between ripe and unripe fruits or veg­eta­bles, edi­ble ver­sus noned­i­ble foods, as well as between sea­son­al changes in foliage. We learn to asso­ciate cer­tain col­ors with oth­er sen­so­ry modal­i­ties, such as red with hot and blue with cold. Col­or also plays an impor­tant role in aes­thet­ic appre­ci­a­tion. It is essen­tial for pic­to­r­i­al works of art, archi­tec­ture, design, cos­met­ics and fash­ion. The sci­en­tif­ic under­stand­ing of col­or vision goes back to the work of Sir Isaac New­ton who made impor­tant obser­va­tions about the nature of light and the real­iza­tion that the prop­er under­stand­ing of col­or is in the con­sti­tu­tion of the ner­vous sys­tem. In the 19th cen­tu­ry, Her­mann von Helmholtz sug­gest­ed that dif­fer­ent recep­tors in the eye were need­ed to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between spec­tral col­ors. Work­ing inde­pen­dent­ly, Ewald Her­ing (1872) put forth the idea that col­or is encod­ed in an antag­o­nis­tic fash­ion with the oppo­nent axes green and red, yel­low and blue, as well as white and black. He pro­posed that these process­es are antag­o­nis­tic over space and time, in agree­ment with the ear­li­er work of the French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul (1839) who stud­ied how the appear­ance of col­ored sur­faces is altered by simul­ta­ne­ous view­ing of anoth­er col­ored sur­face. Mod­ern vision sci­ence has deep­ened our under­stand­ing of col­or vision. This sym­po­sium will bring togeth­er experts in col­or vision to dis­cuss cur­rent the­o­ries of col­or and known phe­nom­e­na relat­ed to col­or vision, includ­ing the under­ly­ing reti­nal and brain process­es. These experts have been invit­ed to present their results in a man­ner that is under­stand­able to an edu­cat­ed audi­ence, who have lit­tle or no spe­cial­ized knowl­edge about col­or vision. Our inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach will unite researchers from neu­ro­science, oph­thal­mol­o­gy, vision and col­or sci­ence, cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gy, art his­to­ry and phi­los­o­phy.

Abstract Lecure Axel Buether

In the first step of our psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ment about 500 par­tic­i­pants explored and doc­u­ment­ed the effects of 13 “psy­cho­log­i­cal pri­ma­ry col­ors” (Berlin and Kay, 1969) over a peri­od of 6 years. Sub­se­quent­ly more than 1 mil­lion images were sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly eval­u­at­ed.

The aim of the study was to show our every­day knowl­edge about col­ors and to find a form of visu­al­iza­tion for the com­plex effects of col­ors on our expe­ri­ence and behav­ior.

Link Sci­en­tif­ic Pro­gram

Orga­niz­ers: 
Mark Green­lee, John S. Wern­er, Christoph Wag­n­er

Dates:
Sep­tem­ber 19 – 21, 2016

Venue:
Uni­ver­si­ty of Regens­burg
Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 19th — Audi­max -
Tues­day and Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 20th and 21st  — Viel­berth Build­ing, Lec­ture the­ater H24 and Foy­er

Link Orga­niz­ers Home­page

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10.07.16 in Wissenstransfer

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