Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

2016 Edition
| Editors: Ming Ronnier Luo

Minimally Distinct Border

  • Michael H. BrillEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-8071-7_261


In an exactly abutting pair of spatially uniform colored regions, if one of the regions is varied in radiance until the border between the regions is least conspicuous to a human observer, that border becomes a minimally distinct border (MDB) and is seen as having maximal blur and minimal contrast. The term MDB is used both for the border itself and for the psychophysical method used to derive it.

Historical Beginnings

The minimally distinct border was first reported by Boynton and Kaiser [1] in connection with psychophysical experiments. From the beginning, it was realized that the condition of MDB occurs when the two abutting regions have the same luminance. Hence, the condition of MDB is best understood in terms of the properties of luminance. (See next section.)

However, the history of the MDB is not just about luminance [2, 3]. The MDB was first used in an attempt to quantify complete color differences regardless of their size. Previously, whereas small color...

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  1. 1.
    Boynton, R.M., Kaiser, P.K.: Vision: the additivity law made to work for heterochromatic photometry with bipartite fields. Science 161, 366–368 (1968)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Boynton, R.M.: Ten years of research with the minimally distinct border. In: Armington, J.C., Krauskopf, J., Wooten, B.R. (eds.) Visual Psychophysics and Physiology. Academic, New York (1978)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boynton, R.M.: Human Color Vision. Holt, Rinehart, Winston, New York (1979)Google Scholar
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    Wyszecki, G., Stiles, W.S.: Color Science, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York (1982)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kaiser, P.K., Lee, B.B., Martin, P.R., Valberg, A.: The physiological basis of the minimally distinct border demonstrated in the retinal ganglion cells in the macaque retina. J. Physiol. 422, 153–183 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Raphael, S., MacLeod, D.I.A.: Minimally distinct borders in mesopic vision. J. Vis. 8(17), article 75 (2008)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DatacolorLawrencevilleUSA