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Lari S. Virtanen, Maria Olkkonen, Toni P. Saarela; Color ensembles: Sampling and averaging spatial hue distributions. Journal of Vision 2020;20(5):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.5.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Color serves both to segment a scene into objects and background and to identify objects. Although objects and surfaces usually contain multiple colors, humans can readily extract a representative color description, for instance, that tomatoes are red and bananas yellow. The study of color discrimination and identification has a long history, yet we know little about the formation of summary representations of multicolored stimuli. Here, we characterize the human ability to integrate hue information over space for simple color stimuli varying in the amount of information, stimulus size, and spatial configuration of stimulus elements. We show that humans are efficient at integrating hue information over space beyond what has been shown before for color stimuli. Integration depends only on the amount of information in the display and not on spatial factors such as element size or spatial configuration in the range measured. Finally, we find that observers spontaneously prefer a simple averaging strategy even with skewed color distributions. These results shed light on how human observers form summary representations of color and make a link between the perception of polychromatic surfaces and the broader literature of ensemble perception.
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