David L Philipona and J Kevin O'Regan.
Color naming, unique hues, and hue cancellation predicted from
singularities in reflection properties.
Vis Neurosci, 23(3-4):331-9, 2006.
[ bib |
Psychophysical studies suggest that different colors have different
perceptual status: red and blue for example are thought of as elementary
sensations whereas yellowish green is not. The dominant account for
such perceptual asymmetries attributes them to specificities of the
neuronal representation of colors. Alternative accounts involve cultural
or linguistic arguments. What these accounts have in common is the
idea that there are no asymmetries in the physics of light and surfaces
that could underlie the perceptual structure of colors, and this
is why neuronal or cultural processes must be invoked as the essential
underlying mechanisms that structure color perception. Here, we suggest
a biological approach for surface reflection properties that takes
into account only the information about light that is accessible
to an organism given the photopigments it possesses, and we show
that now asymmetries appear in the behavior of surfaces with respect
to light. These asymmetries provide a classification of surface properties
that turns out to be identical to the one observed in linguistic
color categorization across numerous cultures, as pinned down by
cross cultural studies. Further, we show that data from psychophysical
studies about unique hues and hue cancellation are consistent with
the viewpoint that stimuli reported by observers as special are those
associated with this singularity-based categorization of surfaces
under a standard illuminant. The approach predicts that unique blue
and unique yellow should be aligned in chromatic space while unique
red and unique green should not, a fact usually conjectured to result
from nonlinearities in chromatic pathways.
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