Wabash College Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Karen Gunther has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant. The funding will support research to examine how the human eye and brain perceive color. 

Gunther’s project dubbed, "RUI: Stimulus Characteristics Influencing Non-Cardinal Color Mechanisms", garnered a three-year, $200,749 grant. “For over 200 years,” Gunther said, “it has been known that color vision begins with the three cone types in the retina. More recently, vision scientists have determined that the retina routes the cone signals into three “cardinal color” pathways: red vs. green, bluish vs. yellowish, and black vs. white.“However, the manner in which light is turned into colored perceptions is not fully understood. In particular, how do people perceive colors beyond the six cardinal colors, the ‘non-cardinal’ colors?”

Gunther will test how different size, stripes and contrast affect a person’s ability to perceive non-cardinal colors. The grant also will be used to purchase upgraded lab equipment, fund part of her sabbatical from 2020-21, allow her to attend vision science conferences and cover two summer interns for 2018 and 2020. You can learn more about Gunther’s research here.

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