Spectral statistics in natural scenes predict hue, saturation, and brightness.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The perceptual color qualities of hue, saturation, and brightness do not correspond in any simple way to the physical characteristics of retinal stimuli, a fact that poses a major obstacle for any explanation of color vision. Here we test the hypothesis that these basic color attributes are determined by the statistical covariations in the spectral stimuli that humans have always experienced in typical visual environments. Using a database of 1,600 natural images, we analyzed the joint probability distributions of the physical variables most relevant to each of these perceptual qualities. The cumulative density functions derived from these distributions predict the major colorimetric functions that have been reported in psychophysical experiments over the last century.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Long, F; Yang, Z; Purves, D

Published Date

  • April 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 103 / 15

Start / End Page

  • 6013 - 6018

PubMed ID

  • 16595630

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1426241

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.0600890103


  • eng