Publication 2073

Bonnardel V. & Varela F. J. (1991) A frequency view of color vision: Measuring the human sensitivity to square-wave spectral power distributions. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 245(1314): 165–171. Fulltext at
We have measured the chromatic threshold sensitivity to stimuli with spectral composition determined by a periodic function of energy over wavelength. This approach is analogous to frequency studies of spatial vision for the study of colour. A device was constructed permitting the synthesis of illuminants over the entire visible range (400–700 nm) in which phase, frequency and amplitude can be independently controlled. We have used 12 frequencies of square-wave functions (from 0.5 to 3.6 cycles/300 nm) and seven values of phase (between 0 degrees and 180 degrees) to obtain the contrast sensitivity function of the chromatic system in three normal trichromats. The results show maximum sensitivity around 1.5 cycles/300 nm and a high-frequency cut-off at 3.6 cycles/300 nm. These empirical values are compared with the predictions obtained from three current psychophysical models of opponent-colour process.


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