Russell De Valois Memorial Lecture Series

4:00 – 5:00pm, April 9, 2015 in 489 Minor Hall

Blue and Yellow in the World, the Brain, and the Dress

presented by

Michael A. Webster, PhD
Foundation Professor
Co-Director, Neuroscience BS Degree
Co-Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program
Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno

 Blue and yellow hold a special place in color theory, but the basis for their special nature as color percepts remains elusive. This talk will examine the relationship between blue and yellow in the environment and the brain, and how this relationship is shaped by visual adaptation. Blue and yellow are often conceived as opponent poles of a single dimension, yet there are a number of asymmetries between them. We have discovered a striking difference in how they are experienced, which may underlie a number of color phenomena including how people perceive the colors in “the blue and black (or yellow and white) dress” that recently consumed the internet. Together these phenomena may reflect a bias to attribute blue to the lighting but yellow to the object.


Host: John Flanagan

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