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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Stephen A. Burns
  • Vol. 22, Iss. 10 — Oct. 1, 2005
  • pp: 2207–2221

The watercolor illusion and neon color spreading: a unified analysis of new cases and neural mechanisms

Baingio Pinna and Stephen Grossberg  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 22, Issue 10, pp. 2207-2221 (2005)

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Coloration and figural properties of neon color spreading and the watercolor illusion are studied using phenomenal and psychophysical observations. Coloration properties of both effects can be reduced to a common limiting condition, a nearby color transition called the two-dot limiting case, which clarifies their perceptual similarities and dissimilarities. The results are explained by the FACADE neural model of biological vision. The model proposes how local properties of color transitions activate spatial competition among nearby perceptual boundaries, with boundaries of lower-contrast edges weakened by competition more than boundaries of higher-contrast edges. This asymmetry induces spreading of more color across these boundaries than conversely. The model also predicts how depth and figure–ground effects are generated in these illusions.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
(330.1720) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color vision
(330.4060) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision modeling
(330.4270) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision system neurophysiology
(330.5020) Vision, color, and visual optics : Perception psychology
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(330.7310) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision

ToC Category:
Spatial-chromatic Interactions

Original Manuscript: January 18, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: April 14, 2005
Published: October 1, 2005

Baingio Pinna and Stephen Grossberg, "The watercolor illusion and neon color spreading: a unified analysis of new cases and neural mechanisms," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 22, 2207-2221 (2005)

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