Color-constancy mechanisms have been studied and discussed in a number of investigations. However, there has been little attempt to reveal how color constancy deteriorates as the conditions for it become less than optimal. We carried out a series of asymmetric color-matching experiments, using two criteria: surface-color match and apparent-color match. With brief adaptation the degree of color constancy increased as chromatic cues were added in the surround. In the condition of black surround, the test stimuli appeared self-luminous, and chromaticities of the chosen matching stimuli were the same as the physical chromaticities of the test stimulus, indicating a total deficiency of color constancy. With 15 min of preadaptation to the illuminant, the surface-color matches showed almost perfect color constancy under illuminant change. In both adaptation conditions, the chromatic-shift of matches from what would be expected for perfect color constancy increased gradually between 1,700- and 30,000-K illuminant, as chromaticity of the illuminant departed from 6,500-K illuminant. Under 1,000-K illuminant the surface-color appearance became totally achromatic, and color constancy was completely lost. Our results show that, even with brief adaptation to the illuminant, the contribution of the surrounding stimulus is large enough to achieve a fair degree of color constancy, but complete adaptation to the illuminant helps to achieve almost perfect color constancy.
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