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Physiological mechanisms of color constancy

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Color constancy is the term given to the ability to recognize the color of objects correctly under different conditions of illumination. For this purpose the visual system must determine the character of the illumination, introduce a correction for it into the spectal composition of the light received from the object, and hence recreate the true color of its surface. Behavioral experiments on fish showed that they possess constant color vision of objects. Electrophysiological experiments on ganglion cells of the color type showed that the simplest mechanisms of correction for illumination are found at the retinal level. An investigation of model algorithms providing for color constancy showed thatthe presence of color vision makes it much easier to recognize the three-dimensional form of objects. This fact compels a reexamination of established views regarding the place and role of color vision in functions of the animal visual system as a whole.

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Additional information

Institute for Problems in Information Transmission, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow. Translated from Neirofiziologiya, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 21–26, January–February, 1975.

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Maksimova, E.M., Dimentman, A.M., Maksimov, V.V. et al. Physiological mechanisms of color constancy. Neurophysiology 7, 16–20 (1975).

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