OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 64, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 1974
  • pp: 750–759

Color discrimination as a function of observer adaptation

M. R. Pointer  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 64, Issue 6, pp. 750-759 (1974)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (987 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A colorimeter was constructed to measure the size of just-noticeable color differences as a function of observer adaptation. It was of the Burnham type with 1.6° test and matching fields and a 15° adaptation field that had a luminance of 3400 cd/m2. Nine different adaptations were used: dark adaptation, adaptation to five near-planckian white-light sources that had color temperatures in the range 6500–2000 K, and adaptation to three colors, red, green, and blue. Very little difference was found between the sets of discrimination data obtained for adaptations to the five white lights; a slight increase of the size of the justnoticeable color difference with decreasing color temperature was observed. To permit the data to be compared on a basis of equal appearance, rather than equal chromaticity, the calorimeter was modified so that color-appearance shifts could be measured, using a binocular-matching technique. Appearance-shift matrices were computed from the experimental results so that the discrimination data for each adaptation could be plotted in terms of the appearance of colors with adaptation to 6500 K. The results for the white-light adaptations showed that there was very little difference between the data when plotted directly and the data plotted as they would appear in 6500-K adaptation. This was also found for the results obtained with dark adaptation, but it was not true for the results obtained for color adaptations.

M. R. Pointer, "Color discrimination as a function of observer adaptation," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 64, 750-759 (1974)

Sort:  Author  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. W. D. Wright, Proc. Phy. Soc. Lond. 53, 93 (1941).
  2. D. L. MacAdam, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 32, 249 (1942).
  3. W. S. Stiles, Proc. Phys. Soc. Lond. 58, 41 (1946).
  4. W. R. J. Brown and D. L. MacAdam, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 39, 808 (1949).
  5. W. R. J. Brown, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 837 (1952).
  6. W. R. J. Brown, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 47, 137 (1957).
  7. G. Wyszecki and G. H. Fielder, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 61, 1135 (1971).
  8. G. Wyszecki and G. H. Fielder, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 61, 1501 (1971).
  9. G. Wyszecki, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 117 (1972).
  10. W. L. Brewer, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 44, 207 (1954).
  11. R. W. G. Hunt, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 1540 (1965).
  12. R. W. Burnham, Am. J. Psychol. 65, 27 (1952).
  13. R. W. G. Hunt, The Reproduction of Colour, 2nd ed. (Fountain Press, London, 1967).
  14. D. Farnsworth, in Visual Problems of Colour (HMSO, London, 1958), Vol. II, p. 429.
  15. W. D. Wright, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. 115B, 49 (1934).
  16. W. D. Wright, J. Physiol. (Lond.) 88, 167 (1936).
  17. R. W. Burnham, R. M. Evans, and S. M. Newhall, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 597 (1952).
  18. R. W. G. Hunt, Proc. Phys. Soc. Lond. 62B, 203 (1949).
  19. R. W. G. Hunt, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 40, 362 (1950).
  20. R. W. G. Hunt, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 190 (1952).
  21. R. W. G. Hunt, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 479 (1953).
  22. R. W. Burnham, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 254 (1959).
  23. D. L. MacAdam, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 46, 500 (1956).
  24. S. C. H. Rowe, The Subjective Scaling of Colour (Ph.D. thesis, The City University, London, 1972).
  25. Each of the transformation matrices implies a set of fundamental primaries to the output of which the Von Kries coefficient law applies, directly. The chromaticity coordinates of those primaries can be found by use of a method indicated by Brewer (Ref. 10). The results obtained are not consistent for the different pairs of adaptations used, and do not agree with the results obtained by other investigators, who used other experimental techniques. This seems to indicate further, that the Von Kries type of linear hypothesis is not good enough to account for color-appearance shifts. However, the transformation matrices seem to provide satisfactory representations of the data obtained with the binocular-matching technique.

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited