W. A. H. Rushton

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William Albert Hugh Rushton FRS[1] (8 December 1901 – 21 June 1980) was professor of Physiology at Trinity College, Cambridge. His main interest lay in colour vision and his Principle of Univariance is of seminal importance in the study of perception.[2]

Principle of Univariance[edit]

In his lecture "Pigments and signals in colour vision"[3] he stated it thus: "The output of a receptor depends upon its quantum catch, but not upon what quanta are caught."

This means that one and the same visual receptor cell can be excited by different combinations of wavelength and intensity, so that the brain can not know the colour of that point of the retinal picture.


Rushton was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, and the University of Cambridge.



  1. ^ a b Barlow, H. B. (1986). "William Rushton. 8 December 1901-21 June 1980". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 32: 422–426. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1986.0014. JSTOR 770119. PMID 11621257. 
  2. ^ Anon (1982). "Obituary William Albert Hugh Rushton F.R.S". Vision Research 22 (6): 611–621. PMID 7051532. 
  3. ^ Rushton, W. A. (1972). "Pigments and signals in colour vision". The Journal of Physiology 220 (3): 1P–1P. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1972.sp009719. PMC 1331666. PMID 4336741. 
  4. ^ Haynes, Renee. (1982). The Society for Psychical Research 1882-1982: A History. London: MacDonald & Co. p. 224. ISBN 978-0356078755

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