Publication 2073

Bonnardel V. & Varela F. J. (1991) A frequency view of color vision: Measuring the human sensitivity to square-wave spectral power distributions. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 245(1314): 165โ€“171. Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2073
We have measured the chromatic threshold sensitivity to stimuli with spectral composition determined by a periodic function of energy over wavelength. This approach is analogous to frequency studies of spatial vision for the study of colour. A device was constructed permitting the synthesis of illuminants over the entire visible range (400โ€“700 nm) in which phase, frequency and amplitude can be independently controlled. We have used 12 frequencies of square-wave functions (from 0.5 to 3.6 cycles/300 nm) and seven values of phase (between 0 degrees and 180 degrees) to obtain the contrast sensitivity function of the chromatic system in three normal trichromats. The results show maximum sensitivity around 1.5 cycles/300 nm and a high-frequency cut-off at 3.6 cycles/300 nm. These empirical values are compared with the predictions obtained from three current psychophysical models of opponent-colour process.

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