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Yeon Jin Kim, Kathy T. Mullen; Effect of overlaid luminance contrast on perceived color contrast: Shadows enhance, borders suppress. Journal of Vision 2016;16(11):15. doi: 10.1167/16.11.15.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Natural scenes contain both color and luminance variations at different sizes and orientations that are sometimes spatially overlaid and sometimes not. Here, we explore visual interactions between overlaid color and luminance contrast that are both suprathreshold and highly visible. We used a color-luminance plaid in which the perception of the color contrast and luminance contrast components were measured separately using a method of constant stimuli, to reveal how overlaid cross-oriented luminance contrast affects perceived color contrast, and how color contrast affects perceived luminance contrast. Binocular, monocular, and dichoptic viewing conditions were used for different spatial frequencies (0.375–1.5 cpd, 2 Hz) and base contrasts. We find that overlaid, cross-oriented luminance contrast enhances perceived color contrast by an average of 32% (monocularly and binocularly) across a wide range of luminance contrasts, but interocularly suppresses color contrast. For the reverse condition, we found no effect of color contrast on perceived luminance contrast. If, however, the cross-oriented arrangement is changed to co-oriented, specifically with the color and luminance borders aligned and in-phase, the color enhancement disappears and becomes mild suppression. Likewise, if the phase of the co-aligned components is varied, color enhancement returns once the color and luminance borders are misaligned and out of phase. Thus the relative position of the color and luminance borders is a crucial factor in determining the type of interaction, with color suppression occurring when the luminance and color borders coincide, as when demarcating an object boundary, and color enhancement when they do not coincide, as occurs in shadows and shading.
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