Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

New Laws of Simultaneous Contrast?

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Seeing and Perceiving
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Drawing on many seemingly disparate and unrelated lines of evidence, we argue that the direction of the simultaneous contrast effect in three-dimensional colour space is given by the difference vector between target and surround (‘direction hypothesis’). This challenges the traditional idea according to which the direction of the simultaneous contrast effect is complementary to the colour of the surround (‘complementarity law’). We also argue that the size of the simultaneous contrast effect is either constant or decreases with the difference between target and surround in three-dimensional colour space. The latter proposal challenges Kirschmann’s fourth law. Within our theoretical framework, the universally presumed validity of the complementarity law and Kirschmann’s fourth law can be understood as resulting from the failure to take various confounding factors into account when interpreting empirical data, the most prominent of which is the influence of temporal von Kries adaptation.

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Psychologie, Universität Kiel, Olshausenstraße 62, 24118 Kiel, Germany


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Adelson E. H. ( 1993). "Perceptual organization and the judgment of brightness", Science Vol 262, 20422044.
2. Adelson E. H. ( 2000). "Lightness perception and lightness illusions", in: The New Cognitive Neurosciences, 2nd edn, Gazzaniga M. (Ed.), pp.  339351. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
3. Anderson B. L. ( 1997). "A theory of illusory lightness and transparency in monocular and binocular images: the role of contour junctions", Perception Vol 26, 419452.
4. Anderson B. L. , Winawer J. ( 2008). "Layered image representations and the computation of surface lightness", J. Vision Vol 8( 7), 18.122.
5. Bosten J. , Mollon J. ( 2007). "Kirschmann’s fourth law", Perception Vol 36 ECVP Abstract Supplement, 190.
6. Bosten J. , Mollon J. ( 2010). "Is there a general trait of susceptibility to simultaneous contrast?", Vision Research Vol 50, 16561664.
7. Brenner E. , Cornelissen F. W. ( 1991). "Spatial interactions in color vision depend on distances between boundaries", Naturwissenschaften Vol 78, 7073.
8. Brown R. O. ( 2003). "Backgrounds and illuminants: the yin and yang of color constancy", in: Colour: Mind and the Physical World, Mausfeld R. , Heyer D. (Eds), pp.  247271. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
9. Brown R. O. , MacLeod D. I. A. ( 1997). "Color appearance depends on the variance of surround colors", Curr. Biol. Vol 7, 844849.
10. Burgh P. , Grindley G. ( 1962). "Size of test patch and simultaneous contrast", Qtrly J. Exper. Psychol. Vol 14, 8993.
11. Cataliotti J. , Becklen R. ( 2007). "Single dissociation between lightness contrast effects", Perception Vol 36 ECVP Abstract Supplement, 79.
12. Chichilnisky E. J. , Wandell B. A. ( 1995). "Photoreceptor sensitivity changes explain color appearance shifts induced by large uniform backgrounds in dichoptic matching", Vision Research Vol 35, 239254.
13. Cornelissen F. W. , Brenner E. ( 1991). "On the role and nature of adaptation in chromatic induction", in: Channels in the Visual Nervous System: Neurophysiology, Psychohysics and Models, Blum B. (Ed.), pp.  109123. Freund Publishing House, London, UK and Tel Aviv, Israel.
14. Ekroll V. ( 2005). On the nature of simultaneous colour contrast, Dissertation , Philosophische Fakultät der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, available at:
15. Ekroll V. , Faul F. ( 2009). "A simple model describes large individual differences in simultaneous colour contrast", Vision Research Vol 49, 22612272.
16. Ekroll V. , Faul F. , Niederée R. ( 2004). "The peculiar nature of simultaneous colour contrast in uniform surrounds", Vision Research Vol 44, 17651786.
17. Ekroll V. , Faul F. , Niederée R. , Richter E. ( 2002). "The natural center of chromaticity space is not always achromatic: a new look at color induction", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol 99, 1335213356.
18. Faul F. , Ekroll V. , Wendt G. ( 2008). "Color appearance: the limited role of chromatic surround variance in the ‘gamut expansion effect’", J. Vision Vol 8( 3), 30.120.
19. Ekroll V. , Faul F. , Wendt G. ( 2011). "The strengths of simultaneous colour contrast and the gamut expansion effect correlate across observers: evidence for a common mechanism", Vision Research Vol 51, 311322.
20. Gelb A. ( 1929). "Die ‘Farbenkonstanz’ der Sehdinge", in: Handbuch der der normalen und pathologischen Physiologie, Bethe A. , von Bergman G. , Embden G. , Ellinger A. (Eds), pp.  594687. Springer, Berlin.
21. Gordon J. , Shapley R. ( 2006). "Brightness contrast inhibits color induction: evidence for a new kind of color theory", Spatial Vision Vol 19, 133146.
22. Hansen T. , Walter S. , Gegenfurtner K. R. ( 2007). "Effects of spatial and temporal context on color categories and color constancy", J. Vision Vol 7( 4), 2.115.
23. von Helmholtz, H. (Ed.) ( 1911). Handbuch der Physiologischen Optik. Verlag von Leopold Vos, Hamburg und Leipzig.
24. Helson H. , Michels W. C. ( 1948). "The effect of chromatic adaptation on achromaticity", J. Optic. Soc. Amer. Vol 38, 10251032.
25. Hering E. ( 1887). "Ueber die Theorie des simultanen Contrastes von Helmholtz: II. Der Contrastversuch von H. Meyer und die Versuche am Farbenkreisel", Pflügers Archiv für Physiologie Vol 41, 129.
26. Hildreth E. C. ( 1949). Lectures on Visual Psychology. Professional Press, Chicago, IL.
27. Jameson D. , Hurvich L. M. ( 1961). "Opponent chromatic induction: experimental evaluation and theoretical account", J. Optic. Soc. Amer. Vol 51, 4653.
28. Kingdom F. A. A. ( 2011). "Lightness, brightness and transparency: a quarter century of new ideas, captivating demonstrations and unrelenting controversy", Vision Research Vol 51, 652673.
29. Kingdom F. A. A. , Blakeslee B. , McCourt M. E. ( 1997). "Brightness with and without perceived transparency: when does it make a difference?", Perception Vol 26, 493506.
30. Kinney J. A. S. ( 1962). "Factors affecting induced color", Vision Research Vol 2, 503525.
31. Kirschmann A. ( 1891). "Ueber die quantitativen Verhältnisse des simultanen Helligkeits- und Farben-Contrastes", Philosophische Studien Vol 6, 417491.
32. Köhler J. ( 1904). "Der simultane Farben- und Helligkeitskontrast, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des sog. Florkontrastes", Archiv für die gesamte Psychologie Vol 2, 15311540.
33. von Kries J. ( 1905). "Die Gesichtsempfindungen", in: Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen, Physiologie der Sinne, Vol Vol. 3, Nagel W. (Ed.), pp.  109282. Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn, Braunschweig.
34. MacLeod D. I. A. , Boynton R. M. ( 1979). "Chromaticity diagram showing cone excitation by stimuli of equal luminance", J. Optic. Soc. Amer. Vol 69, 11831186.
35. Masin S. C. , Idone A. M. ( 1981). "Studio sperimentale sulla percezione della trasparenza con figura e sfondo achromatici e omogenei", Giornale Italiano di Psicologia Vol 8, 265277.
36. Mausfeld R. ( 1998). "Color perception: from Grassman codes to a dual code for object and illumination colors", in: Color Vision, Backhaus W. G. K. , Kliegl R. , Werner J. S. (Eds), pp.  219250. De Gruyter, Berlin.
37. Mausfeld R. ( 2003). "‘Colour’ as part of the format of different perceptual primitives: the dual coding of colour", in: Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World, Mausfeld R. , Heyer D. (Eds), pp.  381429. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
38. Metelli F. ( 1970). "An algebraic development of the theory of perceptual transparency", Ergonomics Vol 13, 5966.
39. Meyer H. ( 1855). "Über Kontrast- und Komplementärfarben", Annalen der Physik Vol XCV, 170171.
40. Mizokami Y. , Yaguchi H. ( 2010). "Perception of colorfulness influenced by chromatic variance in indoor environments", J. Light Vis. Environ. Vol 34, 6975.
41. Niederée R. , Mausfeld R. ( 1997). "Increment–decrement asymmetry in dichoptic matching with haploscopically superimposed backgrounds", Vision Research Vol 37, 613616.
42. Perls L. ( 1932). Die Erscheinungen des simultanen Kontrastes und der Eindruck der Feldbeleuchtung, Dissertation , Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
43. Richter E. ( 2002). Modelle der Kontrastcodierung, PhD Thesis , Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
44. Rinner O. , Gegenfurtner K. R. ( 2000). "Time course of chromatic adaptation for color appearance and discrimination", Vision Research Vol 40, 18131826.
45. Shepherd A. J. ( 1997). "A vector model of colour contrast in a cone-excitation colour space", Perception Vol 26, 455470.
46. Shepherd A. J. ( 1999). "Remodelling colour contrast: implications for visual processing and colour representation", Vision Research Vol 39, 13291345.
47. Thouless R. ( 1932). "Individual differences in phenomenal regression", Brit. J. Psychol. Vol 22, 216241 (General Section).
48. Valberg A. ( 1974). "Color induction: dependence on luminance, purity, and dominant or complementary wavelength of inducing stimuli", J. Optic. Soc. Amer. Vol 64, 15311540.
49. Valberg A. , Lange-Malecki B. ( 1990). ‘ "Colour constancy’ in Mondrian patterns: a partial cancellation of physical chromaticity shifts by simultaneous contrast", Vision Research Vol 30, 371380.
50. Vladusich T. , Lucassen M. P. , Cornelissen F. W. ( 2007). "Brightness and darkness as perceptual dimensions", PLoS Comput. Biol. Vol 3, e179.
51. Walls G. L. ( 1960). "Land! Land!", Psycholog. Bull. Vol 57, 2948.
52. Werner J. S. , Walraven J. ( 1982). "Effect of chromatic adaptation on the achromatic locus: the role of contrast, luminance and background color", Vision Research Vol 22, 929943.
53. Whittle P. ( 1994). "The psychophysics of contrast brightness", in: Lightness, Brightness and Transparency, Gilchrist A. L. (Ed.), pp.  35110. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.
54. Whittle P. ( 2003). "Contrast colours", in: Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World, Mausfeld R. , Heyer D. (Eds), pp.  115138. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
55. Whittle P. , Challands P. D. C. ( 1969). "The effect of background luminance on the brightness of flashes", Vision Research Vol 9, 10951110.
56. Wollschläger D. , Anderson B. L. ( 2009). "The role of layered scene representations in color appearance", Curr. Biol. Vol 19, 430435.
57. Wuerger S. M. ( 1996). "Color appearance changes resulting from iso-luminant chromatic adaptation", Vision Research Vol 36, 31073118.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Seeing and Perceiving — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation