Abstract

We had shown earlier that viewers prefer to look at artworks under illuminants of ∼3600 K. In the latest paper we tested the hypothesis that the preferred illuminant is one that appears neither warm nor cool and repeated the settings at each of four illuminances to test the stability of the findings. Observers looked at a neutral white reflectance standard hung on a matte-gray wall lit by overhead banks of lamps whose combined value could be adjusted continuously between 3000 and 4400 K while illuminance was kept constant. Illuminance ranged from 50 to 2000 lux. Observers adjusted color temperature until they were satisfied that the standard looked neither warm nor cool. The mean for a group of eight observers was approximately 3700, independent of intensity; this corresponds to a dominant wavelength of ∼580 nm. In a separate study four observers scaled the apparent warmth or coolness of flashes of equiluminant monochromatic lights; the warm–cool transition was between 560 and 580 nm; warmness was completely predicted by the perceived redness of each light as derived from hue and saturation scaling functions from the same group.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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