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Welcome to the Brainard Lab

Research Interests

The Brainard Lab studies human vision, both experimentally and through computational modeling of visual processing. Our primary concern is with how the visual system estimates object properties from the information available in the light signal incident at the eye. To study this general problem, we conduct psychophysical experiments to investigate questions such as how object color appearance is related to object surface properties under a wide range of illumination conditions and how color is used to identify objects, and formulate computational models of the results. In addition, we are interested in developing machine visual systems that can mimic human performance and in understanding the neural mechanisms of vision.

Representative Recent Publications

(See Publications for more, or download Brainard's CV in PDF Format. Or visit Brainard's Google Scholar Page).

Spitschan, M., Jain, S., Brainard, D. H. & Aguirre, G. K. (2014).  Opponent melanopsin and S-cone signals in the human pupillary light response. PNAS, 111(43):15568-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1400942111. Epub 2014 Oct 13. release.  Coverage on

Benson, N. C, Manning, J. R. & Brainard, D. H. (2014).  Unsupervised learning of cone spectral classes from natural images.  PLoS Computational Biology, 10(6): e1003652,, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003652.  This work is mentioned in this article on the evolution of color vision, in The Scientist.

Benson, N. C. Butt, O. H., Brainard, D. H. & Aguirre, G. K. (2014).  Correction of distortion in flattened representations of the cortical surface allows prediction of v1-v3 functional organization from anatomy. PLoS Computational Biology,10(3):e1003538,, doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003538.

Xiao, B., Hurst, B., MacIntyre, L., & Brainard, D. H. (2012). The color constancy of three-dimensional objects. Journal of Vision, 12(4:6)., doi:10.1167/12.4.6. Supplemental material.

Olkkonen, M. & Brainard, D. H. (2011). Joint effects of illumination geometry and object shape in the perception of surface reflectance. i-Perception 2(9), 1014-1034,, doi:10.1068/i0480. Supplemental material.

Radonjić, A., Allred, S. R., Gilchrist, A. L., & Brainard, D. H. (2011). The dynamic range of human lightness perception. Current Biology, 21(22), 1931-1936, doi:10.1016/cub.2011.10.013. Download PDFDownload supplemental PDFAdditional supplemental materialVideo abstract. [Commentary on this paper appears in Graham, D. J. (2011). Visual perception: Lightness in a high-dyanamic range world. Current Biology, 21(22), R914-R916. Download commentary PDF.]

Brainard, D. H. & Maloney, L. T. (2011). Surface color perception and equivalent illumination models. Journal of Vision, 11(5:1),, doi: 10.1167/11.5.1.