Large enhancement of simultaneous color contrast by white flanking contours

Tama Kanematsu, Kowa Koida

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Simultaneous color contrast and assimilation are mutually opposing effects on color appearance, and their magnitude depends on spatial context. The Monnier–Shevell illusion induces a large color shift by a synergy of simultaneous assimilation and contrast using the alternating color of proximal and distant surrounds. The illusion induces a prominent effect along the blue-yellow color axis, but a subtle effect along the orthogonal color axis. In this study, we report an illusion generated by an extremely thin gray line on a cyan background that appears reddish when the line is flanked by thin white contours. We quantified the color appearance of the gray line in a color matching experiment and found that the color shift of the gray line with white contours induced large color shifts. It is also known that luminance contrast between a center and its surrounds affects the magnitude of simultaneous color contrast. However, our color contrast effects were larger for a dark line rather than for a pale line. In contrast, the perceived color shift of the line without the contours increased as the luminance of the gray line increased, supporting the known effect of Kirschmann’s third law. These results indicate that Kirschmann’s third law fails to explain the perceived color shift of our illusion, even after accounting for optical factors like aberrations. Observed color shifts could be explained by an augmented synergy theory based on intensity space, rather than chromaticity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20136
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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