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Lauren E. Wool, Stanley J. Komban, Jens Kremkow, Michael Jansen, Xiaobing Li, Jose-Manuel Alonso, Qasim Zaidi; Salience of unique hues and implications for color theory. Journal of Vision 2015;15(2):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.2.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The unique hues—blue, green, yellow, red—form the fundamental dimensions of opponent-color theories, are considered universal across languages, and provide useful mental representations for structuring color percepts. However, there is no neural evidence for them from neurophysiology or low-level psychophysics. Tapping a higher prelinguistic perceptual level, we tested whether unique hues are particularly salient in search tasks. We found no advantage for unique hues over their nonunique complementary colors. However, yellowish targets were detected faster, more accurately, and with fewer saccades than their complementary bluish targets (including unique blue), while reddish-greenish pairs were not significantly different in salience. Similarly, local field potentials in primate V1 exhibited larger amplitudes and shorter latencies for yellowish versus bluish stimuli, whereas this effect was weaker for reddish versus greenish stimuli. Consequently, color salience is affected more by early neural response asymmetries than by any possible mental or neural representation of unique hues.
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