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Davida Y. Teller, Andrea L. Civan, Kevin Bronson-Castain, Maria Pereverzeva; Infants' spontaneous hue preferences are not due solely to variations in perceived brightness. Journal of Vision 2003;3(9):142. doi: 10.1167/3.9.142.
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Purpose. In a classic study, Bornstein (1975) showed 4-month-old infants many pairings of monochromatic, isoluminant stimuli. The infants showed spontaneous looking preferences for red (630 nm) and blue (460 nm) over yellow (580 nm) and green (520 nm). However, to adults, with luminances matched, reds and blues look brighter than do yellows and greens. If infants see the same pattern of brightnesses, and prefer brighter appearing stimuli, then Bornstein's spontaneous “hue” preferences could be due solely to differences in perceived brightness. Will the classic hue preference pattern disappear if the stimuli are equated in adult brightness values?
Methods. Stimuli were presented on a video monitor. Each of six chromatic stimuli from the edge of the color gamut (red, green and blue phosphors and three intermediate stimuli, yellow, purple and blue-green) was paired with white (CIE x,y =.333, .333). The white stimulus was either matched to the chromatic stimuli in luminance (4.5 cd/m2), or in brightness as determined by average adult brightness matches in situ (6.1 to 21 cd/m2). A 0.45 cd/m2 white surround was used.
Results. In general confirmation of Bornstein, blue, purple, and red were preferred to yellow, green, and blue-green. Preferences were virtually identical for luminance-matched and brightness-matched stimuli.
Discussion. These data reject the hypothesis that infants' spontaneous hue preferences are due solely to adult-like variations in perceived brightness. The possibility remains that they are due to adult-like differences in perceived saturation. Studies with adult saturation-matched stimuli, and with chromatic surrounds, are in progress.
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