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Dr Christoph Witzel 

Lecturer in Psychology

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Dr Christoph Witzel is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Southampton within Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences.

A fish is the worst placed creature to discover the existence of water.

Is our perception and understanding of the world determined through genetically fixed and preprogramed mechanisms? Or, are they shaped through learning and experience with the physical and social environment? The answers to these questions are an integral part of our concept of human life. They will define our potential to adapt and hence which roles we can potentially play in the physical and social systems we live in. I have been intensely investigating this theme with the prime example of colour, and I am now also looking for opportunities to reach out to the worlds created by the other senses.

Research interests

Research focus

  • Colour vision: colour categorisation, colour constancy and illumination, object colours, development, and subjective experience of colour.
  • Cognitive effects (language, learning) on perception, unconscious inferences.
  • Language: Linguistic relativity, Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.
  • Other: Sensory substitution, cross-modal correspondences, synaesthesia, and implicit learning.


  • Psychophysics and mathematical modelling, including colour rendering and instrument calibration, and eye tracking.
  • Other: Developmental and cross-cultural approaches, field experiments, EEG.

Broader perspective

  • Connectionism: Automatic perception of structure, feature creation, neural networks.
  • Constructivism, situated cognition, and Sensorimotor Theory: Environmental and cultural factors of perception and cognition.
  • Epistemology: Influence of learning and culture on insight.

Research group

Centre for Perception and Cognition (CPC)

Research project(s)

A Universal Representation of Surface Colours

Colours for Feelings

The Origin of Colour Categories

What are Complementary Colours?


Teaching: PSYCH1010 Research Methods, PSYC2018 Perception, PSYCH PSYC2025 Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Progression Review Board
  • Postgraduate students support
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Book Chapters

2016-2020  Postdoctoral researcher, Experimental Psychology, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Germany

2013-2016  Postdoctoral researcher, Laboratoire Psychologie de Perception, Université Paris Descartes, France

2012-2013  Postdoctoral research fellow, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, UK

2007-2012  Doctorate in natural sciences: Experimental Psychology, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Germany, with Karl R. Gegenfurtner

2008  Magister in Political Science (~Master), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Germany

2006  Diploma in Psychologie (~Master), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Germany

Dr Christoph Witzel
Building 44, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

Room Number : 44/4104

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