Abstract: Mechanism of colour perception: From cones to cognition via constancy
The first stages of color vision are well understood. The spectral absorption functions of the cones in the retina have been standardized and even the genetic basis of individual variability is known. The second-stage, cone-opponent circuits of bipolar and ganglion cells has been characterized at the computational, anatomical and functional levels. However, the contributions color makes to high level vision and cognition are less well established. I will argue that there are mainly two functions of color in higher level vision. First, color makes a tremendous contribution to segmenting objects from their background, leading to quicker recognition of scenes and objects. Second, color contributes to visual memory, leading to better recall of scenes and objects, a function that is crucially mediated by color constancy.