Abstract

The spectrum of white light dispersed by a prism or grating often appears as just three main colored bands, red, green, and blue, with yellow barely discernible. When this spectrum is compared with the appearance of narrow wavelength bands seen in isolation, the lack of color is surprising. An explanation is offered based on two factors: (1) The yellow-appearing wavelengths of the spectrum comprise only ∼ 5% of the whole and have a luminance comparable with that of the adjacent red and green portions and (2) the response of double-opponent cells, observed in the primate visual cortex, could enhance the red and green and obscure the yellow in the spectral image.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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