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Peripheral factors affecting human colour perception

Welbourne, Lauren Elizabeth (2016) Peripheral factors affecting human colour perception. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Human colour perception is mediated by multiple factors. These include: the external environment, physiological structures within the eye, and the neuronal pathways that originate in the eye. The aim of this thesis was to further investigate the impact of three main factors on both the perception and cortical representation of colour. These factors were: the external, changing seasonal environment, genetically determined differences in the number of photoreceptor types, and spatial filters inherent to cortical and pre-cortical luminance and chromatic pathways. Novel findings and methods were demonstrated in this thesis: 1) For the first time, it was found that natural seasonal changes in the chromatic environment (in York, UK) affect the perception of unique yellow; this finding supports the existence of a slow normalisation mechanism, which is governed by changes in the average chromatic environment. 2) Genetically atypical individuals, who have fewer photoreceptor types (dichromats), demonstrated no differences in achromatic contrast discrimination thresholds compared to colour-normal trichromats. Therefore, for this particular measure, dichromats do not appear to benefit from increased neuronal resources from ‘unused’ chromatic pathway populations. A multi-channel LED system was developed to allow the isolation of photoreceptor responses in individuals with an additional photoreceptor type (tetrachromats). Modelling of this system indicated that precision in the cone spectra used to generate the stimulus, relative to the observer’s actual cone sensitivities (i.e. peak wavelength sensitivities), is crucial for successful isolation of the cones. 3) fMRI-based population receptive field (pRF) mapping was used to measure pRF sizes in the pre-cortical channels. Between the pathways, no differences in pRF sizes were found, however, differences in fMRI measures of spatial frequency sensitivity were observed. These data indicate that spatial frequency tuning in early visual cortex may be decoupled from population receptive field sizes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: colour, unique hues, dichromat, fMRI, psychophysics, pRF mapping, cone isolation
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Depositing User: Miss Lauren Elizabeth Welbourne
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2016 10:08
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2016 10:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14319

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