Dr. Maria Olkkonen works as a lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Durham University in the UK, and as an Academy research fellow at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
She received an M.A. in psychology from the University of Helsinki in 2004, writing her master's thesis on the interaction between brightness and color information in the simultaneous contrast illusion. Working with Dr. Pentti Laurinen on her master's thesis instilled in her an excitement about using psychophysics as a rirogous tool to study psychological processes and neural computation. After working in corporate research for a while at the Nokia Research Center, she decided to go back to academia and was offered a PhD studentship with Prof. Karl Gegenfurtner at the University of Giessen where she received her PhD in 2009. To learn more about color and material constancy, she then moved to Philadelphia to work with Prof. David Brainard at UPenn. While in Philadelphia, she also worked with Prof. Sarah Allred at Rutgers on the relationship between color memory and perception, and finally did a two-year project in Prof. Russell Epstein's lab learning about fMRI adaptation and MVPA methods. She has been in Durham since September 2015.

Abstract: Colour Memory

Department of Psychology, Durham University Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki Humans perceive the colors of objects in a relatively stable manner regardless of widely varying viewing conditions – an ability called color constancy. According to a common suggestion emanating from a Bayesian theory of vision, the visual system uses constraints from prior knowledge to infer object properties from noisy sensory inputs.
However, very little is known about how this knowledge is learned from the visual input, and how it is used in visual estimation tasks. I will talk about how object knowledge is learned from visual input for color, how it is used by human observers in noisy color estimation tasks, and how it interacts with well-known color context effects. I will present a quantitative framework in which learning, memory, and perception can be considered jointly, reflecting the structure of natural tasks. I will argue that to understand color perception in the real world, all of these processes need to be considered together.