The recognition of spatial structures is important for color constancy because we cannot identify an object’s color under different illuminations without knowing which space it is in and how that space is illuminated. To show the importance of the natural structure of environments on color constancy, we investigated the way in which color appearance was affected by unnatural viewing conditions in which a spatial structure was distorted. Observers judged the color of a test patch placed in the center of a small room illuminated by white or reddish lights, as well as two rooms illuminated by white and reddish light, respectively. In the natural viewing condition, an observer saw the room(s) through a viewing window, whereas in an unnatural viewing condition, the scene structure was scrambled by a kaleidoscope-type viewing box. Results of single room condition with one illuminant color showed little difference in color constancy between the two viewing conditions. However, it decreased in the two-rooms condition with a more complex arrangement of space and illumination. The patch’s appearance under the unnatural viewing condition was more influenced by simultaneous contrast than its appearance under the natural viewing condition. It also appears that color appearance under white illumination is more stable compared to that under reddish illumination. These findings suggest that natural spatial structure plays an important role for color constancy in a complex environment.
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