August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Perception of the highest luminance under extremely low illumination levels
Author Affiliations
  • Stephen Ivory
    Rutgers University
  • Alan Gilchrist
    Rutgers University
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 353. doi:10.1167/9.8.353
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      Stephen Ivory, Alan Gilchrist; Perception of the highest luminance under extremely low illumination levels. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):353. doi: 10.1167/9.8.353.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

We tested the claim by anchoring theory that the highest luminance in the visual field always appears white, using Mondrian patterns under extremely low illumination. Observers were brought into a very dark lab and seated in front of a very dimly illuminated Mondrian that contained the highest luminance in the room. Observers first reported which patch appeared to be the brightest and then gave a verbal description of its lightness. Then the observer turned away and was shown a Munsell chart under bright illumination (403.9 cd/m2) and made a match from immediate memory. Ten naïve observers served in each experiment. In the first experiment, a 28 patch Mondrian pattern was presented on an LCD screen. Median match for the highest luminance patch (0.89 cd/m2) was Munsell 9.0. Experiment 2 tested a paper Mondrian with a truncated luminance range of 4:1 containing 24 patches ranging from only black and middle gray. Median match for the highest luminance patch (0.068 cd/m2) was Munsell 9.0. Experiment 3 tested a 33-patch paper Mondrian with a full black to white range (30:1). Median match for the highest luminance patch (0.055 cd/m2) was Munsell 8.5. Experiment 4 employed a 29-patch Mondrian with a full range and luminance levels in the scotopic range. Most of the patches were colored and the highest luminance was 0.001 cd/m2. No colors could be seen; indeed nothing could be seen for the first few seconds. Median match for the highest luminance was Munsell 8.5, regarded by most subjects as a white, if a poor white. The highest luminance rule holds across a vast range of illumination. It fails, if at all, only weakly, and that at extremely low luminance values.

Ivory, S. Gilchrist, A. (2009). Perception of the highest luminance under extremely low illumination levels [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):353, 353a, http://journalofvision.org/9/8/353/, doi:10.1167/9.8.353. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 NSF (BCS-0643827) NIH (5R25GM060826)
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