AVA Awards Recipients Report - Monika Hedrich

Geoffrey J. Burton Memorial Award

I attended the Vision Sciences Society 8th Annual Meeting, which was held between the 9th and 14th of May 2008 in Naples, Florida.

The VSS meeting is an exciting event that brings researchers from a wide variety of fields such as Psychology, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science together. Over several days these researchers have the possibility to exchange ideas and discuss topics of interest in the area of vision. At this year’s meeting approximately 200 talks were given and more than 900 posters presented.

I presented a poster with the title “Colour constancy for real 3D and 2D scenes under typical and atypical illuminant changes” in the session “Color Perception”. This poster presented an extensive experiment on colour constancy under a variety of conditions. The novelty of this experiment was that all stimuli were real surfaces. It forms part of my doctoral work and I’m currently in the process of writing a journal article based on this and related studies.

Previous studies comparing colour constancy across diverse illumination changes have drawn an inconclusive picture. It is not yet firmly established whether the visual system compensates more effectively for illuminant changes, which are likely to occur during a daily routine than for such that hardly ever occur. In our study we investigated furthermore, if observer’s matching performance in a colour constancy task would be different for colours, which were learned either as part of a real-world 3D setup or as part of an array of flat squares (2D). After learning a target colour under one illuminant observers selected the remembered colour from a 16-swatch palette, which was presented under a different illuminant. Selection was always performed after a 2 min delay and from a 2D palette. In total this experiment was run for four different illuminant change conditions.

The results showed no evidence that observers performed better for any of the illuminant change conditions. However, observers’ performance improved significantly when a colour was learned in 3D.

During the presentation I received positive feedback on my poster and constructive comments on my overall PhD work. In general, I found the interactions and exchanges during my poster presentation very encouraging and motivating.

Over six days I was able to listen to talks related to my own research area as well as to completely unrelated topics, which often were also very interesting and stimulating. I did not only enjoy the content of the talks and poster presentations but also found it valuable to see how other researchers presented their work. This allowed me to judge the quality of my own delivery and gave me numerous ideas for further improving my presentation skills.

I wish to thank the Applied Vision Association for awarding me with the Geoffrey J. Burton Memorial Award, which made my attendance at this year’s VSS meeting possible.