The bulletin of mathematical biophysics

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 395–402 | Cite as

Mathematical biophysics of color vision: III. Color constancy

  • H. D. Landahl


A mechanism is presented which can account for certain aspects of the phenomena of color constancy. The mechanism involves interaction between a given region and the remaining field. Each region is represented by a color center having the structure previously introduced (Landahl, 1952,Bull. Math. Biophysics,14, 317–25) to account for a number of phenomena of color vision. The trichromatic, symmetric mechanism is introduced for simplicity. The interaction is such that collaterals from each of the primaries representing the background send elements to each of the centers corresponding to the primaries representing the spot. However, the collaterals impinging upon unlike centers are excitatory while the collaterals impinging on like centers, corresponding to the same primary colors, are inhibitory. With proper choice of coefficients, the result is that for small changes in illumination, the resulting apparent color is unchanged. However, for greater changes in the color of the illumination, there results a distortion of the apparent color. A number of examples are illustrated numerically.


White Light Color Vision Color Center Color Contrast Color Constancy 
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Copyright information

© University of Chicago 1959

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. D. Landahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on Mathematical BiologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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