Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Colour contrast is ‘seen’ by the brain early doors

10.09.2007
Colour contrast is detected much earlier in the brain than previously thought, a new study shows.

Scientists at Durham University have confirmed that colour contrast is first detected by part of the brain called primary visual cortex, which is located at the very back of the head where visual information first enters the cortex of the brain. This was recently discovered to be the case in animals but has not been tested on human beings until now.

The research also confirms that the brain does most of the work in seeing the difference between colours, rather than the eye.

The team of neuropsychologists identified a patient with damage to this specific part of the brain. They showed the patient visual illusions in which the contrast between the coloured spots in the foreground and their background colour affected the way the spots looked. People with this part of the brain intact would see the spots as different as they look different on varying backgrounds. The patient was not able to detect that difference.

The research, which is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, makes a significant contribution to the understanding of how the brain functions.

Dr Robert Kentridge, lead researcher and lecturer in Durham University’s Psychology Department explains: “Colour is a product of our nervous system – it is a ‘pigment’ of our imagination. The colours that we see are more related to the materials that things are made of than the light reflected from them into our eyes. Making this happen involves many complex processes. One of the earliest involves seeing contrast between pairs of colours. We have found that this important step of seeing colour contrast happens much earlier in the brain than we had realised up to now.”

The research study used a common approach in neuropsychology, that of extensive testing of a single patient, in this case one who had portions of the right primary visual cortex surgically removed in 1973 for treatment of abnormal blood vessels in the brain.

Professor Charles Heywood, who leads Durham’s Psychology Department, added: “People can distinguish between colours partly because of the contrast with its background. If someone has lost that ability through brain damage, it means that they might see colours as changing all the time. The colour of clothes, and indeed everything else we see, would change dramatically, depending on the colour of light which shines on them.”

The study was supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council.

Media and Public Affairs Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.durham.ac.uk/news

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History

24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>