Effect of chromatic adaptation on the achromatic locus: The role of contrast, luminance and background color

John S Werner, Jan Walraven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Two superposed annular test lights of complementary spectral composition were presented as 60-90′ incremental test flashes on 480′ steady backgrounds. Two observers adjusted the ratio of the two test lights to maintain an achromatic appearance under conditions of adaptation that varied with respect to background luminance, chromaticity and stimulus contrast. The shift in chromaticity of the achromatic point was in the direction of the chromaticity of the background, while the magnitude of the shift increased as an increasing function of background luminance and as a decreasing function of contrast. These data confirm and extend a model of chromatic adaptation that has the following properties: 1. (1) non-additivity of transient test and steady background fields, in the sense that the background, although physically adding to the test flash, only affects its hue by way of altering the gain of cone pathways; 2. (2) Vos-Walraven cone spectral sensitivities; and 3. (3) adaptation sites in the cone pathways having the same action spectra as Stiles' π5, π4 and (modified) π1 mechanisms, and which generate receptor-specific attenuation factors (von Kries Coefficients) according to Stiles' generalized threshold vs intensity function, ζ (x).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-943
Number of pages15
JournalVision Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

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