Dorothea Jameson '42

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1974

Dorothea Jameson '42
Cognitive Psychologist

Dorothea Jameson, one of the world’s foremost theorists of color and vision, graduated from Wellesley College in 1942. In college, she had begun to work on sensory processes, and she continued studying perception as a research assistant at Harvard. Her work as a research assistant was directly applicable to the needs of World War II soldiers at the time, for one of her projects was to improve accuracy of visual rangefinders.

Professor Jameson met her husband and research partner Leo M. Hurvich at Harvard, and their collaboration took them to Eastman Kodak in Rochester, to the psychology department of New York University, and to the department of psychology and the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. In 1975, Professor Jameson was awarded an endowed chair as University Professor of Psychology.

Professor Jameson and Hurwitz co-wrote several published papers, and they were the first to use the subjective appearance of colors as a guide for quantitative experimentation. They constructed an opponent-color theory, studying the physiology of bidirectional color responses. Independently, Professor Jameson studied visual physiology, the function of retinal nerve cells, and visual effects found in artworks.

She received many awards for her work in color and vision, such as the 1971 Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists; the 1972 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association; and the 1987 Hermann von Helmhotz Award of the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute. The State University of New York awarded her an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1989.

Professor Dorothea Jameson contributed greatly to the study of color and vision. She died at the age of 77 in 1998.



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