Abstract

The hypothesis is offered that relative brightness judgments are based upon experience with the way the amount of light reflected by objects changes with their distance from the light source.

The experimental results support this hypothesis. One group of 40 subjects judged half brightness, and another 40 estimated the change in luminance corresponding to moving a hidden point light source to twice the distance from an illuminated standard field. Judgments of the two groups were equivalent.

Under stimulus conditions designed to represent the common visual situation (stimuli subtending wide visual angles, adaptation approximating stimulus levels), one quarter the standard luminance was correctly chosen for the effect of doubling distance from the source, and the same fraction was chosen for half brightness for all standard intensities (0.00086 to 87 millilamberts).

Under less familiar conditions similar to those employed for the bril scale (small stimuli with black backgrounds, indeterminate levels of adaptation) half brightness judgments were again equivalent to estimates of the effect of doubling distance from object to light source. These estimates were less than one-quarter standard luminance.

The hypothesis is discussed in terms of sensory scaling in general, and the neutral value and bril scales in particular.

© 1958 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. G. F. Fechner, Elemente der Psychophysik (Breitkopf und Härtel, Leipzig, 1860), Erster Theil, p. 65.
  2. R. M. Warren and R. P. Warren, Am. J. Psychol. 69, 640 (1956).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  3. Warren, Sersen, and Pores (in preparation).
  4. H. Ebbinghaus, Z. Psychol. Physiol. Sinnesorgane 1, 320, pp. 323–324 (1890).
  5. W. Burzlaff, Z. Psychol. 119, 177 (1931).
  6. D. Katz, The World of Colour (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Company Limited, London, 1935), p. 79.
  7. J. J. Gibson, The Perception of the Visual World (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1950), p. 183.
  8. J. W. T. Walsh, Photometry (Constable and Company, Ltd., London, 1926), p. 92.
  9. R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol. 39, 438 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  10. R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol 39, 719 (1949).
    [Crossref]
  11. F. H. G. Pitt, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 51, 817 (1939).
    [Crossref]
  12. R. M. Hanes and S. B. Williams, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 38, 363 (1948).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  13. An interesting individual was tested whose results were not included. He had done a great deal of experimental work in optics and so was familiar with the physical scales of light intensity. With Type B he estimated about half the physical intensity as half subjective brightness over the entire range (median value 48%), but with Type D his judgments were much lower (median value 20%).
  14. A. H. Munsell, The Atlas of the Munsell Color System (Wadsworth, Howland and Company, Boston, 1915), chart V.
  15. Priest, Gibson, and McNicholas, (1920).
  16. I. H. Godlove, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 23, 419 (1933).
    [Crossref]
  17. Newhall, Nickerson, and Judd, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 33, 385 (1943).
    [Crossref]
  18. It should be noted that the subcommittee, although it stated that the effect of background reflectance on value judgments was “found to be significant,” recommended only one scale based upon papers viewed against a background of about 18% reflectance.
  19. R. S. Woodworth and H. Schlosberg, Experimental Psychology (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1954), pp. 244–245.
  20. W. D. Wright, Researches on Normal and Defective Colour Vision (Henry Kimpton, London, 1946), p. 285.
  21. G. Ekman “A note on generalized psychophysical laws.” (1956), p. 5.
  22. W. C. Michels, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 44, 70 (1954).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  23. F. A. Geldard, The Human Senses (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1953), p. 30.

1956 (1)

R. M. Warren and R. P. Warren, Am. J. Psychol. 69, 640 (1956).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1954 (1)

1949 (2)

R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol. 39, 438 (1949).
[Crossref]

R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol 39, 719 (1949).
[Crossref]

1948 (1)

1943 (1)

1939 (1)

F. H. G. Pitt, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 51, 817 (1939).
[Crossref]

1933 (1)

1931 (1)

W. Burzlaff, Z. Psychol. 119, 177 (1931).

1890 (1)

H. Ebbinghaus, Z. Psychol. Physiol. Sinnesorgane 1, 320, pp. 323–324 (1890).

Burzlaff, W.

W. Burzlaff, Z. Psychol. 119, 177 (1931).

Ebbinghaus, H.

H. Ebbinghaus, Z. Psychol. Physiol. Sinnesorgane 1, 320, pp. 323–324 (1890).

Ekman, G.

G. Ekman “A note on generalized psychophysical laws.” (1956), p. 5.

Fechner, G. F.

G. F. Fechner, Elemente der Psychophysik (Breitkopf und Härtel, Leipzig, 1860), Erster Theil, p. 65.

Geldard, F. A.

F. A. Geldard, The Human Senses (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1953), p. 30.

Gibson,

Priest, Gibson, and McNicholas, (1920).

Gibson, J. J.

J. J. Gibson, The Perception of the Visual World (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1950), p. 183.

Godlove, I. H.

Hanes, R. M.

R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol. 39, 438 (1949).
[Crossref]

R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol 39, 719 (1949).
[Crossref]

R. M. Hanes and S. B. Williams, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 38, 363 (1948).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Judd,

Katz, D.

D. Katz, The World of Colour (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Company Limited, London, 1935), p. 79.

McNicholas,

Priest, Gibson, and McNicholas, (1920).

Michels, W. C.

Munsell, A. H.

A. H. Munsell, The Atlas of the Munsell Color System (Wadsworth, Howland and Company, Boston, 1915), chart V.

Newhall,

Nickerson,

Pitt, F. H. G.

F. H. G. Pitt, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 51, 817 (1939).
[Crossref]

Pores,

Warren, Sersen, and Pores (in preparation).

Priest,

Priest, Gibson, and McNicholas, (1920).

Schlosberg, H.

R. S. Woodworth and H. Schlosberg, Experimental Psychology (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1954), pp. 244–245.

Sersen,

Warren, Sersen, and Pores (in preparation).

Walsh, J. W. T.

J. W. T. Walsh, Photometry (Constable and Company, Ltd., London, 1926), p. 92.

Warren,

Warren, Sersen, and Pores (in preparation).

Warren, R. M.

R. M. Warren and R. P. Warren, Am. J. Psychol. 69, 640 (1956).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Warren, R. P.

R. M. Warren and R. P. Warren, Am. J. Psychol. 69, 640 (1956).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Williams, S. B.

Woodworth, R. S.

R. S. Woodworth and H. Schlosberg, Experimental Psychology (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1954), pp. 244–245.

Wright, W. D.

W. D. Wright, Researches on Normal and Defective Colour Vision (Henry Kimpton, London, 1946), p. 285.

Am. J. Psychol. (1)

R. M. Warren and R. P. Warren, Am. J. Psychol. 69, 640 (1956).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. Exptl. Psychol (1)

R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol 39, 719 (1949).
[Crossref]

J. Exptl. Psychol. (1)

R. M. Hanes, J. Exptl. Psychol. 39, 438 (1949).
[Crossref]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (4)

Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) (1)

F. H. G. Pitt, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 51, 817 (1939).
[Crossref]

Z. Psychol. (1)

W. Burzlaff, Z. Psychol. 119, 177 (1931).

Z. Psychol. Physiol. Sinnesorgane (1)

H. Ebbinghaus, Z. Psychol. Physiol. Sinnesorgane 1, 320, pp. 323–324 (1890).

Other (13)

G. F. Fechner, Elemente der Psychophysik (Breitkopf und Härtel, Leipzig, 1860), Erster Theil, p. 65.

Warren, Sersen, and Pores (in preparation).

D. Katz, The World of Colour (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Company Limited, London, 1935), p. 79.

J. J. Gibson, The Perception of the Visual World (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1950), p. 183.

J. W. T. Walsh, Photometry (Constable and Company, Ltd., London, 1926), p. 92.

It should be noted that the subcommittee, although it stated that the effect of background reflectance on value judgments was “found to be significant,” recommended only one scale based upon papers viewed against a background of about 18% reflectance.

R. S. Woodworth and H. Schlosberg, Experimental Psychology (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1954), pp. 244–245.

W. D. Wright, Researches on Normal and Defective Colour Vision (Henry Kimpton, London, 1946), p. 285.

G. Ekman “A note on generalized psychophysical laws.” (1956), p. 5.

An interesting individual was tested whose results were not included. He had done a great deal of experimental work in optics and so was familiar with the physical scales of light intensity. With Type B he estimated about half the physical intensity as half subjective brightness over the entire range (median value 48%), but with Type D his judgments were much lower (median value 20%).

A. H. Munsell, The Atlas of the Munsell Color System (Wadsworth, Howland and Company, Boston, 1915), chart V.

Priest, Gibson, and McNicholas, (1920).

F. A. Geldard, The Human Senses (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1953), p. 30.

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Figures (1)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of apparatus for judgments of half brightness and of twice distance from the light source.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table I Percentage of the standard intensity selected by subjects.

Equations (2)

Equations on this page are rendered with MathJax. Learn more.

S = k I 1 2 ,
V = k R 1 2 ,