A simple steady-state model is proposed to explain a well-known phenomenon of subjective brightness, namely that high illuminance greatly increases the apparent contrast of a scene. This effect is obtained in the model by making both the reference level and gain of the system depend on the average illumination. The numerical values of the system parameters evaluated from published data of Hurvich and Jameson are in good agreement with those derived from independent experiments of S. S. Stevens. The basic model can be improved by modifications which make it show qualitatively the stabilized retinal image effect, and edge effects such as Mach bands. The physiological plausibility of the model is discussed briefly and no implausible requirements are found.
© 1962 Optical Society of America
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