Abstract

Relational color constancy, which refers to the constancy of perceived relations between surface colors under changes in illuminant, may be based on the computation of spatial ratios of cone excitations. As this activity need occur only within rather than between cone pathways, relational color constancy might be assumed to be based on relative luminance processing. This hypothesis was tested in a psychophysical experiment in which observers viewed simulated images of Mondrian patterns undergoing colorimetric changes that could be attributed either to an illuminant change or to a nonilluminant change; the images were isoluminant, achromatic, or unmodified. Observers reliably discriminated the two types of changes in all three conditions, implying that relational color constancy is not based on luminance cues alone. A computer simulation showed that in these isoluminant and achromatic images spatial ratios of cone excitations and of combinations of cone excitations were almost invariant under illuminant changes and that discrimination performance could be predicted from deviations in these ratios.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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