Christopher Thorstenson to RIT

CChristopher Thorstensonhristopher Thorstenson has been appointed to a tenure-track position in Color Science at Rochester Institute of Technology. He will start in Fall 2021, so excitedly, we get to keep him for another year! Congratulations Chris!


PI Karen Schloss received an NSF CAREER award to advance the understanding of visual reasoning for visual communication. This research can be translated to producing online tools for designing visualizations, which will improve STEM education and increase public literacy and engagement with science and technology. Our education plan will use visual communication to make science more accessible and engaging through virtual reality (VR) and accompanying hands-on experiences with color and visualization.  Click here for more details.

Congrats to Autumn Wickman!

Autumn Wickman

Autumn Wickman received an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholar Award from the UW-Madison Department of Psychology. Congratulations Autumn!

Welcome to our new Postdoc, Christopher Thorstenson

Christopher Thorstenson
We are excited to welcome Christopher Thorstenson, who joined our lab in June 2019. Christopher received his Ph.D. in Social & Personality Psychology from the University of Rochester in 2019, and his M.S. in Color Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2017. His research focuses on the role of color in social communication.

Congrats to Brianne Sherman

Brianne ShermanBrianne Sherman received a Welton Sophomore Honors Summer Apprenticeship to support her summer research studying the effects of object recognition on color perception.  We are excited to have Bri in the lab!

Multiple lab awards in Spring 2019

Shannon SibrelKaren Schloss Congrats to Melissa Schoenlein, Shannon Sibrel, and Karen Schloss for receiving awards to present their research at the 2019 annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society.

Melissa Schoenlein: McPherson Eye Research Institute Walsh Research Travel Award

Shannon Sibrel: UW-Madison Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award

Karen Schloss: Vision Sciences Society National Eye Institute Travel Grant

New Publication: What color are emergency exit signs? Egress behavior differs from verbal report

Our new article on people’s interpretations of exit sign colors in simulated emergencies was recently published in Applied Ergonomics.

We found that people were most likely to walk toward green signs in virtual environments during simulated emergencies. Yet, immediately after, they reported that exit signs in the building were red and that exit signs should be red. This surprising dissociation between walking behavior and verbal report emphasizes the importance of studying behavior in realistic environments.


Kinateder, M. Warren, W. H., & Schloss, K. B. (2019). What color are emergency exit signs? Egress behavior differs from verbal report. Applied Ergonomics, 75, 155-160.

New Publication: Mapping color to meaning in colormap data visualizations

Our paper on how on how people interpret colormap data visualizations was recently published in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG) and presented at InfoVis 2018.

We found that people are better at interpreting colormaps when darker colors map to larger quantities (dark-is-more bias), regardless of the background color, when colormaps do not appear to vary in opacity. Yet, when colormaps do appear to vary in opacity there is evidence for an opaque-is-more bias. These two biases work together on light backgrounds but conflict on dark backgrounds.


Schloss, K. B., Gramazio, C. C., Silverman, A. T., Parker, M., L., & Wang, A. S. (2019). Mapping color to meaning in colormap data visualizations. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 25, 1, 1-10.

New Publication: Color, Music, and Emotion: Bach to the Blues


Our new article on color-music associations for a wide variety of genres was recently published in i-Perception. 

Color-music associations can be predicted from lower-level perceptual dimensions and higher-level emotional dimensions, but evidence indicates that the lower-level correspondences are mediated by shared emotional content between the colors and the music.


Whiteford, K. L., Schloss, K. B., Helwig, N. E., & Palmer, S. E. (2018). Color, Music, and Emotion: Bach to the Blues. i-Perception9(6), 1-27.