Basics of Colour Research


  • Susanne Marschall University of Tuebingen
  • Annette Werner University Hospital of Tuebingen



Colour vision is one of the fundamentals of visual perception. Contrary to popular belief, colour is not a property of objects, but rather a construction of our brain. While we have a relatively good understanding of basic processes of colour vision in the early visual pathway, there is still a considerable need for research regarding the involvement of higher brain functions as well as the diverse cultural, social and communicative functions of colours. In relation to colour perception and cultural colour preferences, it is important to study the cortical networks which are involved in memory formation, evaluation and decision-making processes from a psychophysical point of view. The latter are subject to diverse cultural influences, the complexity of which will be outlined at the end of this article using the example of the significance of colours in India and Japan. This is done to illustrate the fact that colour research should include a historico-cultural component, which can be provided by teams of researchers from different disciplines. The goal of the article is to offer the reader a short introduction into the perception of colours and to bridge the gap between the neurobiological perspective and the possible dimensions of an intercultural research approach on the symbolic context and history of colours.






Colour in Interdisciplinary Context