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European Resesarch Council Projects

 

One of the main funders of our research is the European Research Council.  Read on to find out more about our latest 5 year project as well as our previous projects that were generously funded by them.

Colorful Leaves

Project COLOURMIND: the Environment and Colour Perception

Project COLOURMIND is funded with a 5 year €2 million ERC Consolidator Grant (to Prof. Franklin, with Jenny Bosten) and runs from 2018-2023. The project aims to establish the relationship of colour perception with statistical regularities in the colours of natural scenes (chromatic scene statistics) and illumination.  The project is investigating what aspects of colour perception are affected by the visual environment, the nature and scope of adaptation and calibration to chromatic scene statistics, and whether colour perception tunes-in to the environment during development. To address these issues the project is using a combination of fieldwork, psychophysics, hyperspectral imaging, fMRI, Altered-Reality (with VR) and infant testing. One preliminary finding from this project (with Alice Skelton and Jenny Bosten) suggests that colour vision is aligned with chromatic scene statistics from as early as 4-months.

Image by Luca Upper

ColourSpot: the Development and Evaluation of a test of Colour Vision Deficiency for young children and older 

Anna Franklin and Jenny Bosten were funded by the European Research Council to develop and evaluate a new test of Colour Vision Deficiency (colour blindness) suitable for young children (proof of concept project COLOURTEST). We worked with the app company Milo to design an animated iPad game and embedded our own psychophysics and iPad colour calibrations. We then tested the resulting app, ColourSpot, on 800 4-7 year old boys and showed that the test classifies colour vision deficiency in children more decisively than the commonly used test. The app has several benefits over other tests - it can be self administered remotely by a teacher or parent, is easily accessible and does not require specialist equipment.  We are currently applying to UKCA mark ColourSpot so that it can be used to screen children for colour vision deficiency when they start school.

Colorful Tile Wall

Project CATEGORIES: The Origin and Nature of Colour Categorisation

The CATEGORIES project, led by Prof Franklin, ran from 2012-2018 and was funded with a £1.2million grant from the ERC. The interdisciplinary project investigated how humans categorise colour, the development of these categories, their impact on perception and their neural representation.  The project resulted in over 20 publications including 3 in PNAS.  Three key findings of the project were that: i) infants categorise colour using the two neural subsystems that underpin colour representation (Skelton et al., 2017, PNAS); ii) the middle frontal gyrus categorises colour even when passively viewed (Bird et al., 2014, PNAS); and iii) colour categories affect perception (e.g., Forder et al., 2017, Scientific Reports) and aesthetics (Alvaro et al., 2015, PNAS), but there is limited evidence that they affect sensory processes (He et al., 2014, JOSA), and speakers of different colour lexicons are highly similar in their perception of colour (Wright et al., 2014, JECP).

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