Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 27–41

Describing color appearance: Hue and saturation scaling


DOI: 10.3758/BF03211688

Cite this article as:
Gordon, J., Abramov, I. & Chan, H. Perception & Psychophysics (1994) 56: 27. doi:10.3758/BF03211688


Most of the fully elaborated systems for describing color appearance rely on matching to samples from some standard set. Since this is not satisfactory in all situations, various forms of direct linguistic description have been used, ranging from color naming to continuous numerical scaling of sensations. We have developed and extensively applied a particular variant in which subjects use percentage scales to describe their sensations of the four unique hue sensations (red, yellow, green, blue) and of the apparent saturation of colored lights. In this paper we explore the properties of this procedure, including its statistical properties and reliability both between and within subjects, in different contexts. We conclude that the technique is robust, easy to use, and provides direct access to sensory experience.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHunter College of CUNYNew York
  2. 2.Laboratory of BiophysicsRockefeller UniversityNew York
  3. 3.Brooklyn College of City University of New YorkBrooklyn
  4. 4.Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research InstituteSan Francisco