Visual Neuroscience

Linking performance and neural mechanisms in development and disability

Infant color vision and color preferences: A tribute to Davida Teller


a1 College of Optometry, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

a2 Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Mansfield, Ohio


Almost 40 years ago, Davida Teller developed the forced-choice preferential looking method for studying infant visual capabilities and used it to study infant color vision. About 10 years ago, she used infant looking preferences to study infant color perception. Here, we examine four data sets in which the infant looking preference was measured using a wide range of saturated colors. Three of those data sets, from papers by Marc Bornstein and by Davida Teller and Anna Franklin and their respective collaborators, were fit successfully using MacLeod and Boynton’s model of the equiluminant plane in color space, in spite of the varied luminances used in those studies. A fourth data set, from a paper by Zemach, Chang, and Teller, was less well fit by that model. Apparently, infants are able to ignore luminance, and pay attention just to the color of stimuli. These results are discussed in the context of Davida Teller’s work on the philosophy of vision science.

(Online publication February 10 2013)

(Online publication April 04 2013)

(Online publication July 24 2013)


  • Infant color perception;
  • Color preference;
  • Color categories;
  • Color models


c1 Address correspondence to: Angela M. Brown, College of Optometry, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210-1240. E-mail: