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Matthew Barker-Benfield, Karen B. Schloss, Stephen E. Palmer; Preference for color-pairs within finely sampled color space. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):334. doi: 10.1167/9.8.334.
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In previous research we found that preference for color pairs increased as a function of color similarity (Schloss & Palmer, VSS07). The 37 colors we used were, however, only coarsely sampled within color space: 8 hues (red, orange, yellow, chartreuse, green, cyan, blue and purple) × 4 brightness/saturation levels (saturated, light, muted and dark) plus five grays. In this experiment, we tested whether preferences for color pairs remained monotonic when sampled more finely between the colors previously examined. Four equally spaced colors were interpolated between (a) adjacent saturated hues (hue change), (b) saturated and muted colors of the same hue (saturation change), (c) light and muted colors of the same hue (lightness change), and (d) muted and dark colors of the same hue (darkness change). We used checkerboard displays rather than figure-ground pairs with a central square on a larger ground square to avoid potential artifacts due to relative depth. Half of the displays contained narrow gaps between the squares of the checkerboard and half did not. If preference were simply a function of color similarity, then there should be a monotonic increase in preference as color similarity increased. This was not the case: preference increased as similarity in saturation and lightness decreased (p .05). In addition, checkerboards with differences in lightness/darkness were always more preferred than those with differences in hue or saturation (p [[lt]].001), regardless color similarity. These findings support the hypothesis that very similar colors ‘clash’ more than less similar colors within a finely sampled color space, especially for differences in saturation and lightness. Further experiments will examine the relation between color discriminability and color preference.
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