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Bo Cao, Arash Yazdanbakhsh, Ennio Mingolla; The effect of contrast intensity and polarity in the achromatic watercolor effect. Journal of Vision 2011;11(3):18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/11.3.18.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The watercolor effect (WCE) is a filling-in phenomenon in a region demarcated by two thin abutting lines. The perceived chromaticity of the region is similar to that of the interior line. We develop a series of achromatic WCE stimuli to induce lightness changes analogous to the induced chromaticity in the chromatic version of the WCE. We use a variation of the paired-comparison paradigm to quantify the induced lightness of the filled-in regions to regions with real luminance variations. The luminance of the inner line is fixed, while the luminance of the outer line varies across stimuli. Data from seven subjects (five naive) confirm that an achromatic WCE exists. Moreover, outer lines with both high and low luminances can generate a WCE with an inner line of a moderate luminance. All subjects show a single peak of the effect strength for both polarity conditions, which is never at the extreme luminance levels. Most subjects show an inverted U curve for effect strength as a function of the contrast of the outer lines against the background. Results suggest that the contrast difference between the outer line and the inner line affects the existence and the strength of the achromatic WCE in a nonlinear way.
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