Abstract

Monochromatic light, when mixed with white light, not only becomes desaturated but also changes in hue (Abney effect). This effect was studied in three observers by using three unique hues (blue, green, and yellow) and four compound (intermediate) hues. The whites used for desaturation (desaturants) included Abney’s white (3890 K), two bluish whites (10,000 and 20,000 K), and each observer’s own, perceptually neutral white (6200–6980 K). Test stimuli of 0.5° diameter were presented to the dark-adapted fovea for 1 sec in a dark surround. Abney’s results were confirmed, except in the shortwave and middle-wave parts of the spectrum. At short wavelengths we always observed a hue shift toward increasing redness, whereas Abney reported a shift toward blue. At middle wavelengths (500–556 nm), we found smaller effects than did Abney. Here Abney’s white produced an increase in perceived yellow, whereas all other desaturants produced an increase in perceived green. Two colors, blue-green and yellow, changed least. In general, the hue shifts increased with decreasing colorimetric purity (from 1.0 to 0.5). The results are discussed in relation to color additivity, constant-hue loci, and the Benzold–Brücke effect.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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