Cortical Color and the Cognitive Sciences

Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (1):135-150 (2017)

Abstract

Back when researchers thought about the various forms that color vision could take, the focus was primarily on the retinal mechanisms. Since that time, research on human color vision has shifted from an interest in retinal mechanisms to cortical color processing. This has allowed color research to provide insight into questions that are not limited to early vision but extend to cognition. Direct cortical connections from higher-level areas to lower-level areas have been found throughout the brain. One of the classic questions in cognitive science is whether perception is influenced, and if so to what extent, by cognition and whether a clear distinction can be drawn between perception and cognition. Since perception is seen as providing justification for our beliefs about properties in the external world, these questions also have metaphysical and epistemological significance. The aim of this paper is to highlight some of the areas where research on color perception can shed new light on questions in the cognitive sciences. A further aim of the paper is to raise some questions about color research that are in dire need of further reflection and investigation.

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