Abstract

An apparatus is described which facilitates the presentation of pairs of variable colors without variation of luminance. With this instrument, various criteria of visual sensitivity to color difference have been investigated. The standard deviation of color matching was finally adopted as the most reproducible criterion. The test field was two degrees in diameter, divided by a vertical biprism edge, and was viewed centrally with a surrounding field of forty-two degrees diameter uniformly illuminated so as to have a chromaticity similar to that of the I.C.I. Standard Illuminant C (average daylight). The luminance of the test field was maintained constant at 15 millilamberts, and the surrounding field was 7.5 millilamberts. These fields were viewed monocularly through an artificial pupil, 2.6 mm in diameter. Over twenty-five thousand trials at color matching have been recorded for a single observer, and the readings are analyzed in detail and compared with previously available data. The standard deviations of the trials are represented in terms of distance in the standard 1931 I.C.I. chromaticity diagram. These increments of distance are represented as functions of position alongstraight lines in the chromaticity diagram, and also as functions of direction of departure from points representing certain standard chromaticities. Such representations are simpler than the traditional representations of wave-length thresholds and purity thresholds as functions of wave-length, and the accuracy of the representations is improved by this simplicity. Chromaticity discrimination for non-spectral colors is represented simultaneously and on the same basis as for spectral colors. Small, equally noticeable chromaticity differences are represented for all chromaticities and for all kinds of variations by the lengths of the radii of a family of ellipses drawn on the standard chromaticity diagram. These ellipses cannot be transformed into equal-sized circles by any projective transformation of the standard chromaticity diagram. The consistency of these data with the results of other investigators is exhibited in terms of the noticeabilities of wave-length differences in the spectrum and of the noticeabilities of purity differences from a neutral stimulus, as functions of dominant wave-length.

© 1942 Optical Society of America

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