The appearance of a chromatic stimulus depends on more than the wavelengths composing it. The scientific literature has countless examples showing that spatial and temporal features of light influence the colors we see. Studying chromatic stimuli that vary over space, time, or direction of motion has a further benefit beyond predicting color appearance: the unveiling of otherwise concealed neural processes of color vision. Spatial or temporal stimulus variation uncovers multiple mechanisms of brightness and color perception at distinct levels of the visual pathway. Spatial variation in chromaticity and luminance can change perceived three-dimensional shape, an example of chromatic signals that affect a percept other than color. Chromatic objects in motion expose the surprisingly weak link between the chromaticity of objects and their physical direction of motion, and the role of color in inducing an illusory motion direction. Space, time, and motion—color’s colleagues—reveal the richness of chromatic neural processing.
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