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The effects of color on brightness

Nature Neurosciencevolume 2pages10101014 (1999) | Download Citation



Observation of human subjects shows that the spectral returns of equiluminant colored surrounds govern the apparent brightness of achromatic test targets. The influence of color on brightness provides further evidence that perceptions of luminance are generated according to the empirical frequency of the possible sources of visual stimuli, and suggests a novel way of understanding color contrast and constancy.

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We thank David Coppola, David Fitzpatrick, Don Katz, Tom Polger, Len White and Mark Williams for helpful criticism. This work was supported by NIH grant #NS12987.

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  1. Department of Neurobiology, Box 3209, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, 27710 , North Carolina, USA

    • R. Beau Lotto
    •  & Dale Purves


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Correspondence to Dale Purves.

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