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Vision Res. 1998 Oct;38(20):3117-28.

Spectral bandwidths for the detection of color.

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Institut d'Ingéniérie de la Vision, Université Jean Monnet de Saint-Etienne, France.


The spectral properties of human color detection mechanisms were measured using a noise masking technique that minimizes the possibility of off-axis looking and artifactually narrow estimates of bandwidth. Observers were induced to use a single detection mechanism throughout a spectral bandwidth measurement by using sectored noise to mask a time-varying signal of fixed chromatic properties. Sectored noise draws samples from sectors of variable width in the color plane, centered on the signal axis. Contrast thresholds for equiluminant signals that appeared yellow, orange, red and violet were found to depend on the power of the noise, projected along the chromatic axis of the signal, but not on the sector width of the noise. These results are consistent with the activity of spectrally broadband, linear detection mechanisms that are tuned to the signal color directions tested.

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