Advances in color science: from retina to behavior.


Color has become a premier model system for understanding how information is processed by neural circuits, and for investigating the relationships among genes, neural circuits, and perception. Both the physical stimulus for color and the perceptual output experienced as color are quite well characterized, but the neural mechanisms that underlie the transformation from stimulus to perception are incompletely understood. The past several years have seen important scientific and technical advances that are changing our understanding of these mechanisms. Here, and in the accompanying minisymposium, we review the latest findings and hypotheses regarding color computations in the retina, primary visual cortex, and higher-order visual areas, focusing on non-human primates, a model of human color vision.





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Publication Info

Conway, Bevil R, Soumya Chatterjee, Greg D Field, Gregory D Horwitz, Elizabeth N Johnson, Kowa Koida and Katherine Mancuso (2010). Advances in color science: from retina to behavior. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(45). pp. 14955–14963. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4348-10.2010 Retrieved from

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Greg D. Field

Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurobiology

My laboratory studies how the retina processes visual scenes and transmits this information to the brain.  We use multi-electrode arrays to record the activity of hundreds of retina neurons simultaneously in conjunction with transgenic mouse lines and chemogenetics to manipulate neural circuit function. We are interested in three major areas. First, we work to understand how neurons in the retina are functionally connected. Second we are studying how light-adaptation and circadian rhythms alter visual processing in the retina. Finally, we are working to understand the mechanisms of retinal degenerative conditions and we are investigating potential treatments in animal models.


Elizabeth Johnson

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology

My research focuses on the mechanisms underlying vision, with an emphasis on the signals mediating color perception. This research is focused especially on the links between color and form vision, how these signals are transformed from the retina to early visual cortex, and the representation and functional architecture of these chromatic signals.

I am also exploring how facial skin coloration in humans is modulated with hormone changes, and how these color vision cues are used behaviorally.

In addition, through a Bass Connections: Brain & Society team, I am part of a collaborative project exploring the intersection of visual art and visual neuroscience. For this project, we use eye tracking to explore how human observers look at artistic depictions of faces and face-like configurations to understand more about how global and local features contribute to how we see others, how these processes unfold over time and with experience, how they are impacted in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and how this might inform clinical diagnosis and assessment of response to therapy and treatment. 

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