John Werner

John Werner

The 2013 Robert M. Boynton lecture was presented by John S. Werner from the University of California, Davis Medical Center at the OSA Fall Vision Meeting.

Dr. Werner is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California Davis and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Association (Experimental Division), American Psychological Society, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Gerontological Society of America and Optical Society of America. He has been a co-recipient of two R&D 100 Awards for retinal imaging with adaptive optics. Jack was awarded the Humboldt Research Prize in the Natural Sciences from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn, Germany) in 1994, and received the 1998 distinguished research lecture award of the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received a Jules and Doris Stein Professorship from Research to Prevent Blindness in 2000, and the Pisart Vision Award in 2008 from Lighthouse International (New York Association for the Blind).

Jack's laboratory, the Vision Science & Advanced Retinal Imaging Laboratory, has combined studies of visual psychophysics, electrophysiology and high-resolution retinal imaging. He is the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed papers, four books, and is the co-editor with Leo M. Chalupa of the forthcoming volume of The New Visual Neurosciences (MIT Press).

Robert M. Boynton Lecture. Color Transformations Across the Life Span: Circuits to Compensation

The 2013 Robert M. Boynton lecture addresses two fundamental questions about color vision and aging. First, what are the mechanisms responsible for changes in chromatic sensitivity from infancy to old age? Psychophysical methods can be used to identify the optical and retinal origins of these changes, but also may serve as probes for identifying neural substrates. For example, a recent study demonstrated different rates of aging for detection of increments and decrements mediated by short-wave sensitive cones (i.e., putative ON- and OFF-pathways in the retina). This dissociation implies that detection of increments and decrements is mediated by different circuits. Second, why is color appearance so stable across the life span despite senescent changes in sensitivity of retinal mechanisms? For example, changes in unique hues, color naming, and the achromatic point all reveal a surprising degree of stability in color appearance across the life span. Changes in color vision following removal of a brunescent cataract support the hypothesis that the visual system continuously renormalizes itself to maintain constancy of color perception. These mechanisms have a more protracted time-scale than typically engaged by adaptation experiments in the laboratory, and compensate for sensitivity changes occurring in low-level mechanisms. Thus, an elderly person may call the same stimulus "white" as he or she did 70 years ago, even though it must be based upon a markedly different retinal stimulus and ensemble of neural activity.

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