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J Digit Imaging. 1989 May;2(2):82-91.

A psychophysical comparison of two methods for adaptive histogram equalization.

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Electronic Radiology Laboratories, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University, St Louis, MO.


Adaptive histogram equalization (AHE) is a method for adaptive contrast enhancement of digital images. It is an automatic, reproducible method for the simultaneous viewing of contrast within a digital image with a large dynamic range. Recent experiments have shown that in specific cases, there is no significant difference in the ability of AHE and linear intensity windowing to display gray-scale contrast. More recently, a variant of AHE which limits the allowed contrast enhancement of the image has been proposed. This contrast-limited adaptive histogram equalization (CLAHE) produces images in which the noise content of an image is not excessively enhanced, but in which sufficient contrast is provided for the visualization of structures within the image. Images processed with CLAHE have a more natural appearance and facilitate the comparison of different areas of an image. However, the reduced contrast enhancement of CLAHE may hinder the ability of an observer to detect the presence of some significant gray-scale contrast. In this report, a psychophysical observer experiment was performed to determine if there is a significant difference in the ability of AHE and CLAHE to depict gray-scale contrast. Observers were presented with computed tomography (CT) images of the chest processed with AHE and CLAHE. Subtle artificial lesions were introduced into some images. The observers were asked to rate their confidence regarding the presence of the lesions; this rating-scale data was analyzed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve techniques. These ROC curves were compared for significant differences in the observers' performances. In this report, no difference was found in the abilities of AHE and CLAHE to depict contrast information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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