Abstract

Foveal luminance thresholds for identification of red (642 nm), yellow (584 nm), green (521 nm), and blue (468 nm) were determined by the method of constant stimuli for a range of small stimulus sizes and for two exposure durations. The luminances necessary for chromatic and absolute thresholds were also specified. The luminance required for chromatic threshold was found to be lowest for the 642-nm stimulus and highest for the 468-nm stimulus; the threshold for correct hue identification was found to be inversely related to wavelength. The ratios of the luminance necessary for hue perception to the absolute threshold ranged from 1.14 for the 642-nm stimulus to 1.51 for the 584-nm stimulus. The ratio of the luminance required for correct hue identification to the absolute threshold ranged from 1.32 for the 642-nm stimulus to 3.33 for the 521-nm stimulus. More reliable responses and fewer confusions in the hue identification were associated with the 642-nm stimulus than with the other wavelengths. The identification thresholds of this study are compared with the detection thresholds for similar targets.

© 1969 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. F. L. Dimmick and M. R. Hubbard, Am. J. Psychol. 52, 242 (1939).
    [Crossref]
  2. R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 145, 666 (1964); R. M. Boynton and J. Gordon, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 78 (1965); J. Krauskopf and R. Srebo, Science 150, 1477 (1965); D. O. Weitzman and J. S. Kinney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 5 (1967).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  3. H. J. McNicholas, J. Res. Natl. Bur. Std. (U. S.) 17, 955, (1936); N. E. G. Hill, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 59, 560 (1947); J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949); R. M. HalseyJ. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 45 (1959).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  4. M. Connors, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 58, 258 (1968).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  5. E. N. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  6. E. Baumgardt, Rev. Opt. 28, 661 (1949).
  7. W. de W. Abney and W. Watson, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) A216, 91 (1916).
  8. D. McL. Purdy, Brit. J. Psychol. 21, 283 (1931).
  9. M. Dagher, A. Cruz, and L. Plaza, Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. 8, 387 (1958).
  10. Y. Galifret and H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 43–44, 231 (1942–1943).
    [Crossref]
  11. W. J. Crozier, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 87 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  12. By proper hue was meant the hue normally associated with the wavelength at higher intensities.
  13. M. A. Bouman and P. L. Walraven, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 47, 834 (1957).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  14. The term correct hue is used throughout the text in the same manner as proper hue is described in Ref. 12. The correct-hue threshold is the luminance value at which this particular hue is correctly reported 50% of the time. The term identification implies that the observer was instructed to describe most accurately the hue attributes of the stimulus from the list of possible responses. Identification is used in contrast to detection, which implies that the observer had a priori knowledge of the hue he was attempting to detect.
  15. Chromatic threshold is the luminance value at which any hue, or any combination of hues, is reported 50% of the time.
  16. Since absolute thresholds5,6 and hue-detection thresholds as a function of stimulus size4 have been shown to be described by two intersecting straight lines, it is reasonable to assume that a similar relationship holds for the thresholds of this study. However, since only four stimulus sizes were investigated, the data have been fitted with a single curve.
  17. C. H. Graham and N. R. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
    [Crossref]
  18. H. G. Sperling and Y. Hsia, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 47, 707 (1957).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  19. J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  20. H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 40, 1 (1939); H. Hartridge, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) B232, 519 (1947); W. E. K. Middleton and M. C. Holmes, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 39, 582 (1949); E. N. Willmer, J. Physiol. (London) 110, 422 (1950); G. L. Walls, Am. J. Ophthalmol. 39, 8 (1955); P. L. Walraven, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 51, 1113 (1961).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  21. The data shown in Table III and an inspection of the responses confirm a suggestion made in an earlier study4 that for a brief exposure the 521-nm stimulus is frequently called white, while a longer exposure is more likely to be confused with blue. Observers MC and RS showed a marked rise of the number of blue or blue-green responses to the 521-nm stimulus for the 700-msec exposure; observer JS, who made no white responses, did not exhibit this tendency.
  22. H. G. Sperling and C. L. Jolliffe, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 191 (1965).
    [Crossref]
  23. R. M. Boynton, J. Gordon, D. O. Weitzman, and J. S. Kinney, see Ref. 2.

1968 (1)

1965 (1)

1964 (1)

R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 145, 666 (1964); R. M. Boynton and J. Gordon, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 78 (1965); J. Krauskopf and R. Srebo, Science 150, 1477 (1965); D. O. Weitzman and J. S. Kinney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 5 (1967).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1958 (1)

M. Dagher, A. Cruz, and L. Plaza, Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. 8, 387 (1958).

1957 (2)

1950 (2)

W. J. Crozier, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 87 (1950).
[Crossref]

E. N. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
[Crossref]

1949 (2)

E. Baumgardt, Rev. Opt. 28, 661 (1949).

J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949).
[Crossref]

1939 (3)

H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 40, 1 (1939); H. Hartridge, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) B232, 519 (1947); W. E. K. Middleton and M. C. Holmes, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 39, 582 (1949); E. N. Willmer, J. Physiol. (London) 110, 422 (1950); G. L. Walls, Am. J. Ophthalmol. 39, 8 (1955); P. L. Walraven, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 51, 1113 (1961).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

C. H. Graham and N. R. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

F. L. Dimmick and M. R. Hubbard, Am. J. Psychol. 52, 242 (1939).
[Crossref]

1936 (1)

H. J. McNicholas, J. Res. Natl. Bur. Std. (U. S.) 17, 955, (1936); N. E. G. Hill, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 59, 560 (1947); J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949); R. M. HalseyJ. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 45 (1959).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1931 (1)

D. McL. Purdy, Brit. J. Psychol. 21, 283 (1931).

1916 (1)

W. de W. Abney and W. Watson, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) A216, 91 (1916).

Abney, W. de W.

W. de W. Abney and W. Watson, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) A216, 91 (1916).

Bartlett, N. R.

C. H. Graham and N. R. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

Baumgardt, E.

E. Baumgardt, Rev. Opt. 28, 661 (1949).

Bouman, M. A.

Boynton, R. M.

R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 145, 666 (1964); R. M. Boynton and J. Gordon, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 78 (1965); J. Krauskopf and R. Srebo, Science 150, 1477 (1965); D. O. Weitzman and J. S. Kinney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 5 (1967).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

R. M. Boynton, J. Gordon, D. O. Weitzman, and J. S. Kinney, see Ref. 2.

Connors, M.

Crozier, W. J.

W. J. Crozier, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 87 (1950).
[Crossref]

Cruz, A.

M. Dagher, A. Cruz, and L. Plaza, Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. 8, 387 (1958).

Dagher, M.

M. Dagher, A. Cruz, and L. Plaza, Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. 8, 387 (1958).

Dimmick, F. L.

F. L. Dimmick and M. R. Hubbard, Am. J. Psychol. 52, 242 (1939).
[Crossref]

Galifret, Y.

Y. Galifret and H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 43–44, 231 (1942–1943).
[Crossref]

Gordon, J.

R. M. Boynton, J. Gordon, D. O. Weitzman, and J. S. Kinney, see Ref. 2.

Graham, C. H.

C. H. Graham and N. R. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

Holmes, J. G.

J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949).
[Crossref]

Hsia, Y.

Hubbard, M. R.

F. L. Dimmick and M. R. Hubbard, Am. J. Psychol. 52, 242 (1939).
[Crossref]

Jolliffe, C. L.

Kinney, J. S.

R. M. Boynton, J. Gordon, D. O. Weitzman, and J. S. Kinney, see Ref. 2.

McNicholas, H. J.

H. J. McNicholas, J. Res. Natl. Bur. Std. (U. S.) 17, 955, (1936); N. E. G. Hill, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 59, 560 (1947); J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949); R. M. HalseyJ. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 45 (1959).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Neun, M. E.

R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 145, 666 (1964); R. M. Boynton and J. Gordon, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 78 (1965); J. Krauskopf and R. Srebo, Science 150, 1477 (1965); D. O. Weitzman and J. S. Kinney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 5 (1967).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Pieron, H.

Y. Galifret and H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 43–44, 231 (1942–1943).
[Crossref]

H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 40, 1 (1939); H. Hartridge, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) B232, 519 (1947); W. E. K. Middleton and M. C. Holmes, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 39, 582 (1949); E. N. Willmer, J. Physiol. (London) 110, 422 (1950); G. L. Walls, Am. J. Ophthalmol. 39, 8 (1955); P. L. Walraven, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 51, 1113 (1961).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Plaza, L.

M. Dagher, A. Cruz, and L. Plaza, Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. 8, 387 (1958).

Purdy, D. McL.

D. McL. Purdy, Brit. J. Psychol. 21, 283 (1931).

Schafer, W.

R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 145, 666 (1964); R. M. Boynton and J. Gordon, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 78 (1965); J. Krauskopf and R. Srebo, Science 150, 1477 (1965); D. O. Weitzman and J. S. Kinney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 5 (1967).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Sperling, H. G.

Walraven, P. L.

Watson, W.

W. de W. Abney and W. Watson, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) A216, 91 (1916).

Weitzman, D. O.

R. M. Boynton, J. Gordon, D. O. Weitzman, and J. S. Kinney, see Ref. 2.

Willmer, E. N.

E. N. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
[Crossref]

Am. J. Psychol. (1)

F. L. Dimmick and M. R. Hubbard, Am. J. Psychol. 52, 242 (1939).
[Crossref]

Ann. Psychol. (2)

Y. Galifret and H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 43–44, 231 (1942–1943).
[Crossref]

H. Pieron, Ann. Psychol. 40, 1 (1939); H. Hartridge, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) B232, 519 (1947); W. E. K. Middleton and M. C. Holmes, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 39, 582 (1949); E. N. Willmer, J. Physiol. (London) 110, 422 (1950); G. L. Walls, Am. J. Ophthalmol. 39, 8 (1955); P. L. Walraven, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 51, 1113 (1961).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Brit. J. Psychol. (1)

D. McL. Purdy, Brit. J. Psychol. 21, 283 (1931).

Doc. Ophthal. (1)

J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949).
[Crossref]

J. Exptl. Psychol. (1)

C. H. Graham and N. R. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

J. Gen. Physiol. (1)

W. J. Crozier, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 87 (1950).
[Crossref]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (4)

J. Res. Natl. Bur. Std. (U. S.) (1)

H. J. McNicholas, J. Res. Natl. Bur. Std. (U. S.) 17, 955, (1936); N. E. G. Hill, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 59, 560 (1947); J. G. Holmes, Doc. Ophthal. 3, 240 (1949); R. M. HalseyJ. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 45 (1959).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. (1)

M. Dagher, A. Cruz, and L. Plaza, Natl. Phys. Lab. Symp. 8, 387 (1958).

Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) (1)

W. de W. Abney and W. Watson, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (London) A216, 91 (1916).

Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. (1)

E. N. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
[Crossref]

Rev. Opt. (1)

E. Baumgardt, Rev. Opt. 28, 661 (1949).

Science (1)

R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 145, 666 (1964); R. M. Boynton and J. Gordon, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 78 (1965); J. Krauskopf and R. Srebo, Science 150, 1477 (1965); D. O. Weitzman and J. S. Kinney, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 5 (1967).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Other (6)

The term correct hue is used throughout the text in the same manner as proper hue is described in Ref. 12. The correct-hue threshold is the luminance value at which this particular hue is correctly reported 50% of the time. The term identification implies that the observer was instructed to describe most accurately the hue attributes of the stimulus from the list of possible responses. Identification is used in contrast to detection, which implies that the observer had a priori knowledge of the hue he was attempting to detect.

Chromatic threshold is the luminance value at which any hue, or any combination of hues, is reported 50% of the time.

Since absolute thresholds5,6 and hue-detection thresholds as a function of stimulus size4 have been shown to be described by two intersecting straight lines, it is reasonable to assume that a similar relationship holds for the thresholds of this study. However, since only four stimulus sizes were investigated, the data have been fitted with a single curve.

By proper hue was meant the hue normally associated with the wavelength at higher intensities.

R. M. Boynton, J. Gordon, D. O. Weitzman, and J. S. Kinney, see Ref. 2.

The data shown in Table III and an inspection of the responses confirm a suggestion made in an earlier study4 that for a brief exposure the 521-nm stimulus is frequently called white, while a longer exposure is more likely to be confused with blue. Observers MC and RS showed a marked rise of the number of blue or blue-green responses to the 521-nm stimulus for the 700-msec exposure; observer JS, who made no white responses, did not exhibit this tendency.

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Figures (6)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Percent seen as the correct hue (○——○), percent seen as chromatic (□——□), and percent seen as chromatic and achromatic (△——△), as a function of stimulus luminance. Data are for observer MC, 17.5-min diam, 700-msec exposure, 521-nm stimulus.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Correct hue (○——○), chromatic (□——□), and absolute (△——△) luminance thresholds as a function of stimulus size, 700-msec (——) and 44-msec (– – –) exposures. From left to right, 642-, 584-, 521-, 468-nm dominant wavelength; from top to bottom, observer MC, JS, RS.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Correct hue (○——○), chromatic (□——□), and absolute (△——△) luminance thresholds as a function of dominant wavelength of the stimulus, averaged for observers. Left to right, 17.5, 10.5, 5.5, and 2.5 min arc diam; top, 700-msec, bottom, 44-msec exposure.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

A comparison of the effects of exposure duration on the absolute (left), chromatic (middle), and correct-hue (right) luminance thresholds, averaged for observers, and shown as a function of stimulus size. From top to bottom, 642-, 584-, 521-, 468-nm stimuli; (□——□) 700-msec exposure, (○——○) 44-msec exposure.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

A comparison of photochromatic intervals for the several dominant wavelengths investigated, averaged for all observers. (□——□), the photochromatic interval between the absolute luminance threshold and the chromatic luminance threshold, in log mL; (○——○), the achromatic interval between the absolute luminance threshold and the correct-hue threshold, in log mL. Left to right, 17.5, 10.5, 5.5, and 2.5 min arc diam; top, 700-msec, bottom, 44-msec exposure.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

A comparison of detection and identification data, averaged for observers MC and JS who served in both studies. Log luminance thresholds for detection (♢——♢), and for absolute (△——△), chromatic (□——□), and correct-hue (○——○) identification as a function of stimulus size. Left to right, 642-, 521-, 468-nm dominant wavelength; top, 700-msec, bottom, 44-msec exposure.

Tables (3)

Tables Icon

Table I Description of the filters.

Tables Icon

Table II Incidence of specific hue confusions.

Tables Icon

Table III Distribution of white responses.