The Development of Colour Perception (2023)

   School of Psychology

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  Dr A Franklin  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The PhD student will join the European Research Council funded ‘COLOURMIND’ project which is investigating the extent to which colour perception is tuned and affected by the environment. The COLOURMIND project investigates this question using a diverse range of methods: cross-cultural fieldwork, neuroimaging, altered-reality, psychophysics and developmental testing. The PhD project advertised will address the developmental questions of COLOURMIND, asking whether colour perception tunes to the chromatic properties of the environment during development. So far, we have shown that infant colour vision is aligned with natural chromatic scene statistics from as young as 4 months old (Skelton, Franklin & Bosten, 2023, Dev Sci). We would now like to further understand the role of experience in this process, understand whether it generalises to other types of scene statistics, and explore the impact on cognitive development more broadly. The PhD will involve eye-tracking experiments with infants and children, and could also involve cross-cultural comparison of infants raised in different visual environments, visual evoked potential / event-related potential studies and image analysis. 

The PhD will be conducted in the Sussex Baby Lab, supervised by Professor Anna Franklin and Dr. Alice Skelton. The student will work alongside other members of the Sussex Colour Group and the COLOURMIND project team (


This award will only pay fees at the Home rate.  International students may apply but must provide funding for the difference between Home fees and Overseas fees (approximately £18,000 in 22/23) themselves.

Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Merit (an average of 60% overall) in a Master's degree, in Psychology or a related discipline.

Only full-time students can be accepted

The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity, equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background. 

How to apply

Please read our Psychology PhD FAQS and our Prospectus before you start your application.

Visit the webpage at The University of Sussex for details of how to apply

For queries with respect to the application process: [Email Address Removed] 

To discuss the details of your research interests further, please contact Professor Anna Franklin at [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

- A stipend for 3 years (rising in line with UKRI studentship rates, currently £18,622 p.a.) to cover living costs.
- UK PhD fees and research and training costs are also covered.
- You will also be expected to take up Doctoral Tutoring during your 6 semesters (3 years) of funding. This work is paid at Grade 5.1 (currently £14.82 per hour), and
covers contact time, preparation and marking. You will be expected to work approximately 165 hours per year, dependent on modules selected and availability.
Candidates who demonstrate suitability for, and express interest in, the Doctoral Tutor role will be preferred.
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