OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 66, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 1976
  • pp: 818–826

Saturation of spectral lights

Peter K. Kaiser, James P. Comerford, and Deborah M. Bodinger  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 66, Issue 8, pp. 818-826 (1976)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (977 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Spectral lights, while constant in purity, differ in saturation. Saturation-discrimination experiments have not always indicated this variation of saturation with wavelength. For example, several early investigators determined the size of the first just-noticeable step from the spectrum locus and found it to be approximately constant as a function of wavelength. When we performed this experiment we found saturation functions with minima near 570 nm; however, the ranges of the functions were more compressed than saturation-discrimination functions near white. The saturation-discrimination function results are compared with saturation functions determined by several other empirical and theoretical methods.

© 1976 Optical Society of America

Peter K. Kaiser, James P. Comerford, and Deborah M. Bodinger, "Saturation of spectral lights," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66, 818-826 (1976)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. G. H. Jacobs, Percept. Psychophys. 2, 271 (1967).
  2. D. Jameson and L. M. Hurvich. J. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 890 (1959).
  3. I. G. Priest and F. G. Brickwedde, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 28, 133 (1938).
  4. For a discussion of direct and indirect methods of psychophysical scaling, see T. Eagen in Woodworth and Schlosberg's Experimental Psychology, edited by J. W. Kling and L. A. Riggs (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York, 1971).
  5. In these experiments, the two halves of the bipartite field were always kept equally bright by appropriate adjustment of the spectral or white component.
  6. D. M. Purdy, Br. J. Psychol. 21, 283 (1931).
  7. W. D. Wright and F. H. G. Pitt, Proc. Phys. Soc. London, 49, 329 (1937).
  8. Nelson, Proc. Phys. Soc. London 49, 332 (1937).
  9. L. C. Martin, F. L. Warburton, and W. J. Morgan, Great Britain Medical Research Council, Special Report Series, 1 (1933).
  10. W. D. Wright and F. H. G. Pitt, Proc. Phys. Soc. London 47, 205 (1935).
  11. L. A. Jones and E. M. Lowry, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 13, 25 (1926).
  12. L. T. Troland, "Report of Committee on Colorimetry for 1920–1921," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 6, 527–596 (1922).
  13. D. L. MacAdam, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 32, 247 (1942).
  14. The one exception is Jones and Lowry11. (Fig. 2, No. 3).
  15. R. DeValois and G. Jacobs, Science 162, 533 (1968).
  16. P. Padmos and D. V. Norren, Vision Res. 15, 1103 (1975).
  17. This was determined by means of a Gaertner spectrometer, an EG and G spectroradiometer, and by visual observation.
  18. A movable ground-glass–mirror combination was placed between M3 and BS2 to divert chromatic light from channel 2 to the photometer for measurement of the chromatic light. However, this was installed only in the later phases of this research.
  19. G. Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science (Wiley, New York, 1967).
  20. G. Westheimer, Vision Res. 6, 669 (1966).
  21. These data were often collected in conjunction with other experiments. Consequently, we did not use a constant illuminance level. The initial level was 50 td with later data collected at 100 and 150 td. Some observers were not available to be run under all conditions.
  22. There is an assymmetry of the variability bars about the mean. This is related both to the use of a logarithmic ordinate scale and to our normalization procedure. In this procedure, we divided the mean value for 570 nm by the mean value plus or minus one standard deviation for each wavelength used in the experiment. As a result, large indices of saturation are at the top of the graph. Had we performed this normalization on the raw data and then calculated means and standard deviations, the variability bars would have been symmetrical on a linear scale. Our purpose in presenting variability data is for interobserver and intermethod comparison. Because the plotted values were all computed in the same way, they are useful in making these comparisons.
  23. D. Regan and C. W. Tyler, Vision Res. 11, 1307 (1971).
  24. We are grateful to a reader whose comments prompted us to describe the precautions taken against such confounding variables. Although DMB is a coauthor, she was naive with regard to the theoretical issues and purpose of this research while she was an observer. Her major contribution to this paper is in the discussion of the Hurvich and Jameson model.
  25. These data were collected for a purpose unrelated to the problem of the saturation of spectral lights. When we examined the data, the relevance to the present paper became obvious. The stimuli were 1000 times threshold and subtended 0.7°. They were presented for 1 s in the center of four peripherally viewed fixation lights set to be slightly above scotopic threshold. The color-naming procedure used is similar to that used by P. Kaiser, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 58, 849 (1968) and also by R. M. Boynton, W. Schafer, and M. E. Neun, Science 146, 666 (1964). The only difference is that our observer could indicate the relative proportion of the component colors in four rather than three categories.
  26. E. Hering Outlines of a Theory of the Light Sense, translated by L. M. Hurvich and D. Jameson, (Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., 1964); P. K. Kaiser, P. A. Hlerzberg, and R. M. Boynton, Vision Res. 11, 953 (1971); P. K. Kaiser and J. P. Comerford, Vision Res. 15, 1399 (1975).
  27. L. M. Hurvich and D. Jameson, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 45, 602 (1955).
  28. S. L. Guth and H. R. Lodge, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 450 (1973).
  29. D. Jameson and L. M. Hurvich, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 45, 546, (1955).
  30. A clear description of the Hurvich and Jameson model as applied to saturation is given in Ref. 31. We have added the ability of this method to account for the chromatic response resulting from white light. Hurvich and Jameson assumed that the chromatic component from broadband radiation is zero. (See Ref. 31 p. 435). The transformation from the CIE color-matching functions to (y-b), (r-g), and (w-bk) are presented in Refs. 26 and 31.
  31. C. H. Graham, in Vision and Visual Perception (Wiley, New York, 1965).
  32. R. M. Boynton and P. K. Kaiser, Science 161, 366 (1968); S. L. Guth, N. J. Donely, and R. T. Morroco, Vision Res. 9, 537 (1969); M. Tessier and M. Blottiau, Revue Opt. 30, 309 (1951).
  33. S. L. Guth, Color 69 Association Internationale de la Couleur Proceedings, V. 1, p. 172, (Muster-Schmidt, Gottingen, 1970). P. K. Kaiser, G. Wyszecki, and G. Fielder, Paper presented at Annual Meeting of Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, April, 1975.

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