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Theories that take color constancy into account are based on a large body of anatomical evidence as well as perceptual studies. There are nerve connections among the light receptors on the retina, and there are far fewer nerve connections to the brain than there are rods and cones. This means that there is signal processing in the eye before information is sent to the brain. For example, the eye makes comparisons between adjacent light receptors and is very sensitive to edges as seen in [link] . Rather than responding simply to the light entering the eye, which is uniform in the various rectangles in this figure, the eye responds to the edges and senses false darkness variations.

An image of black and gray gradient in stripes pattern is shown in first figure. A step graph in increasing order below the image shows actual light intensities of the above pattern. The graph appears uniform as the grey strips are also uniform, but they are not. Instead, they are perceived darker on the dark side and lighter on the light side of the edge as depicted in the graph below it, which shows a step graph with spikes at the beginning of the next step.
The importance of edges is shown. Although the grey strips are uniformly shaded, as indicated by the graph immediately below them, they do not appear uniform at all. Instead, they are perceived darker on the dark side and lighter on the light side of the edge, as shown in the bottom graph. This is due to nerve impulse processing in the eye.

One theory that takes various factors into account was advanced by Edwin Land (1909 – 1991), the creative founder of the Polaroid Corporation. Land proposed, based partly on his many elegant experiments, that the three types of cones are organized into systems called retinexes . Each retinex forms an image that is compared with the others, and the eye-brain system thus can compare a candle-illuminated white table cloth with its generally reddish surroundings and determine that it is actually white. This retinex theory of color vision     is an example of modified theories of color vision that attempt to account for its subtleties. One striking experiment performed by Land demonstrates that some type of image comparison may produce color vision. Two pictures are taken of a scene on black-and-white film, one using a red filter, the other a blue filter. Resulting black-and-white slides are then projected and superimposed on a screen, producing a black-and-white image, as expected. Then a red filter is placed in front of the slide taken with a red filter, and the images are again superimposed on a screen. You would expect an image in various shades of pink, but instead, the image appears to humans in full color with all the hues of the original scene. This implies that color vision can be induced by comparison of the black-and-white and red images. Color vision is not completely understood or explained, and the retinex theory is not totally accepted. It is apparent that color vision is much subtler than what a first look might imply.

Phet explorations: color vision

Make a whole rainbow by mixing red, green, and blue light. Change the wavelength of a monochromatic beam or filter white light. View the light as a solid beam, or see the individual photons.

Color Vision

Section summary

  • The eye has four types of light receptors—rods and three types of color-sensitive cones.
  • The rods are good for night vision, peripheral vision, and motion changes, while the cones are responsible for central vision and color.
  • We perceive many hues, from light having mixtures of wavelengths.
  • A simplified theory of color vision states that there are three primary colors, which correspond to the three types of cones, and that various combinations of the primary colors produce all the hues.
  • The true color of an object is related to its relative absorption of various wavelengths of light. The color of a light source is related to the wavelengths it produces.
  • Color constancy is the ability of the eye-brain system to discern the true color of an object illuminated by various light sources.
  • The retinex theory of color vision explains color constancy by postulating the existence of three retinexes or image systems, associated with the three types of cones that are compared to obtain sophisticated information.

Conceptual questions

A pure red object on a black background seems to disappear when illuminated with pure green light. Explain why.

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What is color constancy, and what are its limitations?

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There are different types of color blindness related to the malfunction of different types of cones. Why would it be particularly useful to study those rare individuals who are color blind only in one eye or who have a different type of color blindness in each eye?

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Propose a way to study the function of the rods alone, given they can sense light about 1000 times dimmer than the cones.

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Questions & Answers

Mass of air bubble in material medium is negative. why?
Hrithik Reply
a car move 6m. what is the acceleration?
Umaru Reply
depends how long
What is the simplest explanation on the difference of principle, law and a theory
Kym Reply
how did the value of gravitational constant came give me the explanation
Varun Reply
how did the value of gravitational constant 6.67×10°-11Nm2kg-2
A steel ball is dropped onto a hard floor from a height of 1.50 m and rebounds to a height of 1.45 m. (a) Calculate its velocity just before it strikes the floor.
Kris Reply
0.5m* mate.
0.05 I meant.
Guess your solution is correct considering the ball fall from 1.5m height initially.
How can we compare different combinations of capacitors?
Prakash Reply
find the dimension of acceleration if it's unit is ms-2
Happiness Reply
b=-2 ,a =1
M^0 L^1T^-2
what is botany
it is a branch of science which deal with the study of plants animals and environment
what is work
Sunday Reply
a boy moving with an initial velocity of 2m\s and finally canes to rest with a velocity of 3m\s square at times 10se calculate it acceleration
6.6 lol 😁😁
show ur work
sorry..the answer is -10
your question is wrong
If the boy is coming to rest then how the hell will his final velocity be 3 it'll be zero
re-write the question
men i -10 isn't correct.
using v=u + at
ya..1/10 is very correct..
how did the value 6.67×10°-11Nm2kg2 came tell me please
Work is the product of force and distance
what is longitudinal wave
Badmus Reply
A longitudinal wave is wave which moves parallel or along the direction of propagation.
longitudinal wave in liquid is square root of bulk of modulus by density of liquid
Is British mathematical units the same as the United States units?(like inches, cm, ext.)
Nina Reply
We use SI units: kg, m etc but the US sometimes refer to inches etc as British units even though we no longer use them.
Thanks, just what I needed to know.
What is the advantage of a diffraction grating over a double slit in dispersing light into a spectrum?
Uditha Reply
can I ask questions?
Boniface Reply
hello guys
when you will ask the question
anybody can ask here
is free energy possible with magnets?
you could construct an aparatus that might have a slightly higher 'energy profit' than energy used, but you would havw to maintain the machine, and most likely keep it in a vacuum, for no air resistance, and cool it, so chances are quite slim.
calculate the force, p, required to just make a 6kg object move along the horizontal surface where the coefficient of friction is 0.25
Yes ask
if a man travel 7km 30degree east of North then 10km east find the resultant displacement
Ajali Reply
disagree. Displacement is the hypotenuse length of the final position to the starting position. Find x,y components of each leg of journey to determine final position, then use final components to calculate the displacement.
1.The giant star Betelgeuse emits radiant energy at a rate of 10exponent4 times greater than our sun, where as it surface temperature is only half (2900k) that of our sun. Estimate the radius of Betelgeuse assuming e=1, the sun's radius is s=7*10exponent8metres
James Reply
2. A ceramic teapot (e=0.20) and a shiny one (e=0.10), each hold 0.25 l of at 95degrees. A. Estimate the temperature rate of heat loss from each B. Estimate the temperature drop after 30mins for each. Consider only radiation and assume the surrounding at 20degrees
Is our blood not red
Aditya Reply
If yes than why when a beam of light is passing through our skin our skin is glowing in red colour
because in our blood veins more red colour is scattered due to low wavelength also because of that scattered portion comes on skin and our skin act as a thinscreen.
so you saying blood is not red?
blood is red that's why it is scattering red colour!
like if u pass light frm red colour solution then it will scatter red colour only.. so same it is with our skin..red colour blood is moving inside the veins bcz of thinkness of our fingers.. it appears to be red.
No I am not saying that blood is not red
then ur qtn is wrong buddy.. 😊
Blood is red. The reason our veins look blue under our skin, is because thats the only wavelength on light that can penetrate our skin.
Red light is reflected from our blood but because of its wavelength it is not seen. While in the other hand blue light has a longer wavelength allowing it to pass the our skin and to our eyes.
Thus, our veins appear blue while they are really red... THE MORE YOU KNOW...(;
So in conclusion our blood is red but we can only see blue spectrum because of our skin. The more longer a wavelength is the more durable it is to reflection, so blue light cant pass thew skin completely causing a reflection which causes veins to appear blue. While the red light is scatter around.
the reason why when we shine a light at our skin it appears red is because the red light is increased and more goes to your eyes. So in other words it increases the amount of red light vs it being scatterd around everywhere.
I think the blood is only a mixture of colors but red is predominant due to high level of haemoglobin.
As a side note, the heme part of hemoglobin is why blood is red
Practice Key Terms 6

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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