What can biological colouration tell us about visual processing

What can biological colouration tell us about visual processing

To process sensory information efficiently and quickly visual systems take shortcuts based upon redundancies and regularities in natural scenes. i.e. objects might be defined uniquely by their shape or colour, so why bother encoding anything more complex? Biological camouflage exploits these shortcuts in order to conceal animals. By asking what underlying perceptual processes are exploited by biological camouflage we can unpick the cues that lead to object detection and identification.

In this seminar I will talk about the key types of camouflage that exist in nature, identifying how each seems to attack different visual processes. Key camouflage strategies include: background matching, counter-shading and disruptive colouration. These seem to undermine localisation and recognition via colour, shape-from-shading and outline-shape. A surprising factor in this arms race is that some animals appear to be ‘aware’ of their individual camouflage pattern and will choose to position themselves in habitats that make their camouflage work most effectively.

Dr George Lovell
Hosted by
School of Psychology
William Guild Building