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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Franco Gori
  • Vol. 31, Iss. 4 — Apr. 1, 2014
  • pp: A385–A393

Empirical evidence for unique hues?

J. M. Bosten and A. E. Boehm  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 31, Issue 4, pp. A385-A393 (2014)

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Red, green, blue, yellow, and white have been distinguished from other hues as unique. We present results from two experiments that undermine existing behavioral evidence to separate the unique hues from other colors. In Experiment 1 we used hue scaling, which has often been used to support the existence of unique hues, but has never been attempted with a set of non-unique primaries. Subjects were assigned to one of two experimental conditions. In the “unique” condition, they rated the proportions of red, yellow, blue, and green that they perceived in each of a series of test stimuli. In the “intermediate” condition, they rated the proportions of teal, purple, orange, and lime. We found, surprisingly, that results from the two conditions were largely equivalent. In Experiment 2, we investigated the effect of instruction on subjects’ settings of unique hues. We found that altering the color terms given in the instructions to include intermediate hues led to significant shifts in the hue that subjects identified as unique. The results of both experiments question subjects’ abilities to identify certain hues as unique.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.1690) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color
(330.1720) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color vision
(330.5020) Vision, color, and visual optics : Perception psychology
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics

ToC Category:
Unique hues and color categories

Original Manuscript: October 3, 2013
Revised Manuscript: December 22, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: December 27, 2013
Published: March 11, 2014

Virtual Issues
Vol. 9, Iss. 6 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

J. M. Bosten and A. E. Boehm, "Empirical evidence for unique hues?," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 31, A385-A393 (2014)

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