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Nature. 1991 Jan 17;349(6306):235-8.

Changes in colour appearance following post-receptoral adaptation.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK.


Current models of colour vision assume that colour is represented by activity in three independent post-receptoral channels: two encoding chromatic information and one encoding luminance. An important feature of these models is that variations in certain directions in colour space modulate the response of only one of the channels. We have tested whether such models can predict how colour appearance is altered by adaptation-induced changes in post-receptoral sensitivity. In contrast to the changes predicted by three independent channels, colour appearance is always distorted away from the direction in colour space to which the observer has adapted. This suggests that at the level at which the adaptation effects occur, there is no colour direction that invariably isolates only a single post-receptoral channel.

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