Text full multimedia monochrome

First time here?

Find out more about how The Lecture List works.

Coronavirus situation update

Our lecture organisers may or may not have had time to update their events with cancellation notices. Clearly social gatherings are to be avoided and that includes lectures. STAY AT HOME FOLKS, PLEASE.


Find out what you can do to keep The Lecture List online

Constructing Colour in the Brain

The talk will show where and why our brains construct colours

Part of the Maxwell at King's talks

Maxwell's experiments on spinning tops and projected photographic images
demonstrated the constructed nature of colour experience. As had Young and
Helmholtz before him, Maxwell argued the richly coloured visual world around us boiled down to three constituents and, in defining a mathematical model of their relationship, he concluded the colours we see are not real but related to 'a cause residing in the eye of the observer'. The tri-chromatic theory required further refinement; yet the idea that colour is constructed remains unchanged. Today we recognise a family of rich colour experiences which confront us with their constructed nature by occurring in the absence of visual stimulation or, for some types of experience, with simple spatial or temporal variations in light intensity. Illustrating my talk with examples ranging from the laboratory and clinic to Beat poetry and psychedelic experience, I show where and why our brains construct such colours and that Maxwell's 19th century observations take us to the heart of 21st century neuroscience and the nature of visual consciousness itself.


Dr Dominic ffytche | talks


Date and Time:

24 May 2011 at 1:00 pm


1 hour



Anatomy Theatre & Museum
King's College London

More at Anatomy Theatre & Museum...




Available from:

Register to tell a friend about this lecture.


If you would like to comment about this lecture, please register here.


Any ad revenue is entirely reinvested into the Lecture List's operating fund