Abstract

We have measured how color appearance of square-wave bars varies with stimulus strength and spatial frequency. Observers adjusted the color of a uniform patch to match the color appearance of the bars in square-wave patterns. We used low-to-moderate square-wave patterns, from 1 to 8 cycles per degree (c/deg). The matches are not photoreceptor matches but rather are established at more central neural sites. The signals at the putative central sites obey several simple regularities. The cone contrast of the uniform patch is proportional to square-wave stimulus strength (color homogeneity) and additive with respect to the superposition of equal-frequency square waves containing different colors (color superposition). We use the asymmetric matches to derive, from first principles, three pattern–color-separable appearance pathways. The matches are explained by two spectrally opponent, spatially low-pass mechanisms and one spectrally positive, spatially bandpass mechanism. The spectral mechanisms that we derive are similar to luminance and opponent mechanisms that are derived with entirely different experimental methods.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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