University of Sussex
Skelton, Alice Elizabeth.pdf (2.34 MB)

Infant colour perception

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posted on 2023-06-09, 14:06 authored by Alice SkeltonAlice Skelton
We have learnt a lot about the development and maturation of colour vision in infants, but know comparatively little about the development and structure of colour perception once trichromacy has been established. This thesis aims to characterize infant colour perception in the first year of life over several areas which have previously been well documented in adults; colour categorisation, colour preference, perception of illusions, and infant sensitivity to natural scene statistics. Paper 1 (Skelton, Catchpole, Abbott, Bosten, and Franklin, 2017) systematically mapped infant colour categories revealing that infant colour categories are related to the retinogeniculate pathways of colour vision. Paper 1 also illustrates and quantifies the correspondence between infant colour categories and commonalities found across the worlds’ colour lexicon. Paper 2 shows that infants look for longer at the colours which adults prefer, and provides evidence for an influence of low-level mechanisms on infant response to colour and adult preference. Paper 3 (under review) reopens the question perception of the Munker-White illusion in infants aged 4 to 8 months, through the replication of a previous study and the use of an alternative method, with discussion of the reasons for studying illusions in infancy. Finally, paper 4 provides the first substantive evidence that infants aged 4 months are sensitive to natural scene statistics, as evidenced though the presence of a blue-yellow discrimination bias commonly associated with the distribution of chromaticities found in natural scenes. Paper 4 also has critical implications for the use of psychophysical methods in infants and adults. The findings inform our understanding of infant colour perception and general perceptual processes by outlining some of the structure around which infants’ colour perception is built. The early structure of infants’ perception of colour is shown to often have commonalities with adult colour perception.


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University of Sussex

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