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KAWABATA Yasuhiro Professor

Human Sciences / Psychology
Specialized Field
Cognitive psychology, Color science
Research Subject
Color vision, Perception, Visual memory
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Lab. Letters: Messages from the Laboratory

Literary figuration, or reality?
Test different perspectives.

The ability to see things is synonymous with the ability to realize the world. In addition to an innate cognitive system, one’s cognitive ability improves as one grows, depending on environment and experience. It’s often said that some people see things differently, but I wonder if people can perceive the same subject as being different depending on their capacity to realize things. To elucidate this, my laboratory has been focusing on research into colors and visual scenes in connection with daily activities. Students in my laboratory, some of whom have transferred in from other universities, lead full research lives, while trying to acquire professional qualifications out of an interest in color.

  • Does the overwintering life of mountain climbers help to enhance their ability to discriminate between whites?
  • In the experiment shown here, we’re evaluating the subject’s preferences for the colors of daily objects, including the effects of context and conditions on those preferences. In addition to the evaluation, the subject’s eye movements are tracked.

Clarify the flexibility of the brain through experiments:
Advise on the effective formulation of experimental methods.

On one particular occasion, when I was climbing in the Himalayas with a friend who had anomalous color perception, I realized he was consistently able to see farther than I could. An examination after returning to Japan identified him as a person with excellent visual acuity. Presumably, this is because the brain flexibly reallocated brain resources unnecessary for color processing to those for acuity. To objectively and logically elucidate such a question, we adopt the method of experimentation. In what settings does one carry out experiments? What kind of subjects do you recruit? What do you want them to do? Devising experimental methods is vital to the success of your research. I hope I can offer sound advice on effective experimental methods so that I don’t mar the charm of the research themes students have set.

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