Dependence of relational colour constancy on the extraction of a transient signal

Karina J. Linnell, David H. Foster

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Human observers can correctly attribute changes in the appearance of a scene either to changes in the incident light or to changes in the spectral-reflectance properties of the scene. This ability was assessed as a function of the time course of illuminant and spectral-reflectance changes. Observers were presented with computer simulations of Mondrian patterns of 49 randomly selected Munsell papers. On each trial a Mondrian pattern was presented for 1 s; the pattern then changed either instantaneously or gradually into another Mondrian pattern, also presented for 1 s, which was related to the first either by an illuminant change or by an illuminant change accompanied by additional changes in the spectral-reflectance functions of the individual papers. Illuminant and spectral-reflectance changes were applied linearly in time (with respect to CIE coordinates) over intervals ranging from 0 to 7 s. Observers indicated whether there was a spectral-reflectance change. They were able to make reliable discriminations between illuminant and spectral-reflectance changes both when the changes were applied instantaneously and when they were applied gradually over time, but performance worsened progressively as the duration of the changes increased, that is, as their rate decreased. It is suggested that discrimination in this task depends on the extraction of a low-level transient signal which is generated in response to rapid changes in scene appearance and which is progressively attenuated as changes occur more and more gradually.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)221-228
    Number of pages7
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


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