Abstract

A general theory of color and brightness vision, developed from basic principles of the Helmholtz and Hering points-of-view on color vision is presented in a general mathematical form suitable for quantitative analysis. Visual sensation is described by a vector expressed in terms of Hering-like elements for color and brightness which underlie in their spatial-temporal variations the perceptions of form and change. The photic stimulus of vision is recognized to act first and only through photoabsorption producing a Helmholtz-like vector of quantum absorptions. The physiological transformation of the Helmholtz photochemical excitations into the Hering sensation responses is represented as a vector of general operators. The result is a mathematical framework encompassing traditional psychophysical and sensory scaling experiments. The theory is utilized to demonstrate that for many traditional (Class A) physchophysical observations, the physiological operator reduces to a linear (matrix) transformation. For static, uniform, focal stimulation, this reduction is seen to be the basis for earlier specific linear models of color vision. We also illustrate that static intensity-level effects (Bezold-Brücke hue shifts, unique hue invariance) can be modeled from the theory by power, but not logarithmic, intensity-level dependence for the sensation elements.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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