Thursday, August 28, 2008

Neural basis for unique hues

Cleo M. Stoughton and Bevil R. Conway
Current Biology, 2008, 18:16:R700-R702

All colors can be described in terms of four non-reducible ‘unique’ hues: red, green, yellow, and blue [1]. These four hues are also the most common ‘focal’ colors — the best examples of color terms in language [2]. The significance of the unique hues has been recognized since at least the 14th century [3] and is universal [4, 5], although there is some individual variation [6, 7]. Psychophysical linking hypotheses predict an explicit neural representation of unique hues at some stage of the visual system, but no such representation has been described [8]. The special status of the unique hues “remains one of the central mysteries of color science” [9]. Here we report that a population of recently identified cells in posterior inferior temporal cortex of macaque monkey contains an explicit representation of unique hues.

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