Abstract

We determined the contributions of cone and melanopsin luminance signaling to human brightness perception. The absolute brightness of four narrowband primary lights presented in a full-field Ganzfeld was estimated in two conditions, either cone luminance-equated (186.71,867.0  cd·m2) or melanopsin luminance-equated (31.6316.3  melanopsin cd·m2). We show that brightness estimations for each primary light follow an approximately linear increase with increasing cone or melanopsin luminance (in log units), but are not equivalent for primary lights equated with either cone or melanopsin luminance. Instead, brightness estimations result from a combined interaction between cone and melanopsin signaling. Analytical modeling with wavelength-dependent coefficients signifies that melanopsin luminance positively correlates with brightness magnitudes, and the cone luminance has two contribution components, one that is additive to melanopsin luminance and a second that is negative, implying an adaptation process. These results provide a new framework for evaluating the physiological basis of brightness perception and have direct practical applications for the development of energy-efficient light sources.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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