Luminance was introduced by the CIE as a photometric analog of radiance. This implies that an additive spectral-luminosity function characterizes the human observer. In practice, many different spectral-sensitivity functions characterize human vision, although few produce the additive spectral-luminosity function V(λ), which is suitable for use in practical photometry. Methods that give rise to additive spectral-sensitivity functions that most resemble V(λ) tend to have in common the use of spatial or temporal frequencies that will discriminate against signals from the short-wavelength-sensitive cone pathways or against signals in chromatic pathways. Some of the difference among results obtained with different techniques seems to other the extent to which the methods can bring about changes in the state of chromatic adaptation, but it also reflect seems likely that not all tasks tap the same postreceptoral mechanisms. Psychophysical evidence is equivocal regarding the nature of the postreceptoral mechanisms: some evidence suggests just three mechanisms, one of which has a spectral sensitivity that is like V(λ);other evidence suggests the existence of multiple mechanisms with different spectral sensitivities. Physiological recordings from neurons in the macaque’s visual pathway suggest that the properties of the magnocellular system may be sufficient to account for spectral-sensitivity functions measured with the techniques of heterochromatic flicker photometry, minimally distinct border, and critical flicker fusion. These are the psychophysical methods that yield spectral sensitivities that are most like V(λ). Other methods of measuring spectral sensitivity seem more likely to depend on signals that travel through the parvocellular system.
© 1993 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article