Perception of electronic display colours as a function of retinal illuminance

Vicki J. Volbrecht, Howard M. Aposhyan, John S Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Colour-naming data were objected from four colour-normal observers to determine the nature of the changes in colour appearance that can occur with changes in illuminance for spectral and nonspectral stimuli comparable to those used in electronic displays. Test stimuli were presented as one degree, foveal flashes of one second duration in Maxwellian view. The retinal illuminance of the nine test stimuli varied from -1.0 to 4.0 log trolands (0.01-1 147fL). Shifts in perceived colour were observed with changes in stimulus intensity. At low illuminance levels, the stimuli appeared desaturated, with black and white responses dominating chromatic responses. At higher retinal illuminances, the stimuli were more saturated, although perceived colour was not constant with changing light levels. In general, blue and yellow responses increased at a faster rate relative to red and green responses with increasing illuminance. The data have important implications for the use of colour on electronic displays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • colour
  • electronic displays
  • perception
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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