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Sussex Vision Lab

We are a lab at the University of Sussex researching visual perception, and particularly colour perception. In colour vision we study the underlying cortical neural mechanisms, the impacts on perception of variants of the medium and long-wavelength sensitive cones, including the minority phenotypes of anomalous trichromacy and tetrachromacy, and the impact of short term and long term exposure to perceptual environments on colour perception. Currently, we are conducting an ERC-funded project COLOURCODE on subjective colour experience and the cortical neural mechanisms of colour perception, and collaborating with Anna Franklin on her ERC-funded project COLOURMIND, to understand how colour perception becomes tuned to natural scene statistics.

 

We apply our knowledge of the visual system to create efficient new tests of visual function for patients with eye disease, using next-generation virtual reality hardware. In collaboration with Ruth Hogg at the Centre for Experimental Medicine, Belfast, we are developing an algorith for visual perimetry for patients with glaucoma, and ecologically valid tests of visual abilities for patients with low vision. We have also co-created created ColourSpot, an iPad app to diagnose colour vision deficiency in young children. We are working to make the app available for use as a screening tool in early years education. 

We use individual differences as a method to explore the connection between different visual traits: correlated differences may imply shared neural resources. In collaboration with John Mollon at the University of Cambridge, we study the genetic determinants of individual differences in basic and more complex visual traits, including stereopsis, motion, contrast sensitivity, colour vision and face perception.

 

Sussex vision lab uses a combination of psychophysical, brain imaging, modelling and genetic methods to explore the structure, function and biological basis of the human visual system. The lab is currently home to 2 postdoctoral research associates, 5 postgraduate research students and 2 undergraduate project students.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Subjective colour experience

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In an ERC-funded project COLOURCODE, we are investigating the cortical neural mechanisms of colour perception and their relationship to subjective colour experience. We use EEG, fMRI, psychophysics including stroboscopic stimulation, and individual differences to characterise subjective colour experience and explore its mechanisms.

Colour vision and natural scene statistics

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In collaboration with Anna Franklin and as part of her ERC-funded project COLOURMIND, we are investigating how colour vision becomes tuned ontogentically and developmentally to natural scene statistics. We are using fMRI, EEG, cross cultural studies, developmental studies and virtual reality to learn about the scope and nature of calibrative processes in colour perception. 

Anomalous trichromacy

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PhD student Lucy Somers is investigating the effect of EnChroma filters on anomalous colour vision, and using SSVEP to investigate the possibility of postreceptoral compensation in anomalous trichromacy, developing work started in collaboration with Alexandra Boehm (UC Berkeley) and Donald MacLeod (UC San Diego).

Visual Snow Syndrome

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Postgraduate student Simon Saryazdi is investigating visual snow syndrome and hallucinogen-perception-persisting disorder (HPPD), aiming investigate its mechanisms and to develop a symptom severity scale. 

Visual performance measures in virtual reality

Funded by Fight for Sight, we are developing measures of visual performance for patients with low vision that target visual abilities that are important for daily living. Patients will make visual judgements and decisions in a realistic simulated environment, presented using an Oculus Rift.

Visual perimetry with a head-mounted display

Funded by the International Glaucoma Association, we are developing a method for conducting visual perimetry using a head-mounted display. 

A tablet-based app for screening for colour vision deficiency in young children

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With Anna Franklin's Sussex Colour Group we have developed an iPad-based app to assess colour vision deficiency in children aged 4-7 years. 

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