August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Color constancy and palette complexity in real scenes
Author Affiliations
  • Patrice McCarthy
    Psychology Department, Rutgers -- The State University of New Jersey
  • Maria Olkkonen
    Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sarah R Allred
    Psychology Department, Rutgers -- The State University of New Jersey
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 796. doi:
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      Patrice McCarthy, Maria Olkkonen, Sarah R Allred; Color constancy and palette complexity in real scenes. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):796. doi:

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

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Background: Scene complexity often improves color constancy, yet little research has investigated whether the complexity of the matching palette improves color constancy. Typically, matching stimuli are flat. Here we investigated whether color matches change when a 3D matching palette is used. Method: Observers viewed two adjacent, separately illuminated 4 x 4 x 4 booths in which 3" study cubes were placed. Matching palettes were mounted on covered circular rotating trays. Only one matching stimulus was visible at a time. Observers rotated the trays and judged whether each successive matching stimulus was painted with the same paint as the study cube. This allowed within-observer characterization of color precision. We used 8 study cubes and 128 matching paints that spanned the color space near each study cube. Matching stimuli were either 1" flat squares or 1" cubes. Matching palettes were either viewed under the same (baseline condition) or different (constancy condition) illumination as the study cubes. This was a repeated measures design. Results and Conclusion: In the baseline condition, cubes and flats elicited similar average matches and similar precision. In the constancy condition, average color matching error varied widely between study cubes. Errors were slightly higher with the cube palette than the flat palette. Between observers variability in average color matches was higher in the constancy than the baseline condition for both flat and cube stimuli. However, within observers, precision of color matches was similar between conditions. Thus, the higher between-observers variability in the constancy condition is likely due to individual differences in color constancy, rather than a decrease of precision in the representation of color within individuals. Conclusion: Overall, color matches are largely similar when made with both 2D and 3D palettes.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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