Traditionally, my research interests lie in understanding neural mechanisms of spatial and color perception, and particularly how these mechanisms may be compromised by normal aging or disease. More recently, I am beginning a new line of research focused on how social attitudes relate to visual processes of face perception.

In relation to my general interest in color perception, one series of studies focus on whether the color appearance of an object depends on shared properties or relations within the natural world. Specifically, how do top-down processes of perceptual organization contribute to changes in color appearance? I am currently studying how the color appearance of a light changes when perceptually segmented from its surroundings by creating the percept that the light is a separate object. Preliminary results demonstrate that top-down processes of object segmentation do alter color appearance.

This theme is an essential foundation for understanding normal, and as an extension, abnormal visual processing. The color vision domain is well suited to explore neural mechanisms of visual perception. Color appearance is not determined exclusively by the spectral properties of an object itself but depends also on the context in which an item is viewed, a phenomenon referred to as chromatic induction. Shifts in color appearance due to chromatic induction are easily quantified and reveal important properties of neural coding.

In relation to face perception, I am starting a series of experiments to explore whether our personal attitudes toward other races, sexes, political affiliations, etc. may relate to neural processes of face perception. This research is inspired by the social justice focus here at Roosevelt University, and will hopefully lead to a better understanding of social issues in our community.


Webster, M.A., Mizokami, Y., Svec, L., Elliott, S.L. (2006) Neural adjustments to chromatic blur.  Spatial Vision: Special Issue: Spatio-Chromatic Interactions, 19(2-4), 111-132.

Elliott, S.L., Hardy, J.L., Webster, M.A., Werner, J.S. (2007).  Aging and blur adaptation.  Journal of Vision, 7(6), 1-9.

Elliott, S.L., Choi, S.S., Doble, N., Hardy, J.L., Evans, J.W. & Werner, J.S.  (2009) Role of high-order aberrations in senescent changes in spatial vision. Journal of Vision, 9(2), 1-16.

Werner, J.S., Elliott, S.L., Choi, S.S., & Doble, N. (2009) Spherical aberration yielding optimum visual performance: evaluation of IOLs using adaptive optics simulation. Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 35, 1229-1233.

Elliott, S.L., & Werner, J.S. (2010). Age-related changes in contrast gain related to the M and P pathways. Journal of Vision, 10(4):4, 1-15.

Murray, I.J., Elliott, S.L., Pallikaris, A., Werner, J.S., Choi, S., & Tahir, H.J. (2010). The oblique effect has an optical component: Orientation-specific contrast thresholds after correction of high-order aberrations. Journal of Vision, 10(11):10, 1-12.

Elliott, S.L., Georgeson, M.A., & Webster, M.A. (2011). Response normalization and blur adaptation: data and multi-scale model. Journal of Vision, 11(2):7, 1-18.

Elliott, S.L., Werner, J.S., & Webster, M.A. (2012). Individual and age-related difference in chromatic contrast adaptation. Journal of Vision, 12(8):11, 1-21.

Elliott, S.L., & Shevell, S.K. (2013) Perceived segmentation of center from surround by only illusory contours causes chromatic lateral inhibition. Vision Research, 86, 66-70.

Elliott, S.L., & Cao, D.C. (2013) Scotopic hue percepts in natural scenes. Journal of Vision, 13(13):15, 1-13.