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Red, yellow, green, and blue are not particularly colorful

Red, yellow, green, and blue are not particularly colorful
Red, yellow, green, and blue are not particularly colorful
Colorfulness and saturation have been neglected in research on color appearance and color naming. Perceptual particularities, such as cross-cultural stability, “focality,” “uniqueness,” “salience,” and “prominence” have been observed for red, yellow, green, and blue when those colors were more saturated than other colors in the stimulus samples. The present study tests whether high saturation is a characteristic property of red, yellow, green, and blue, which would explain the above observations. First, we carefully determined the category prototypes and unique hues for red, yellow, green, and blue. Using different approaches in two experiments, we assessed discriminable saturation as the number of just noticeable differences away from the adaptation point (i.e., neutral gray). Results show that some hues can reach much higher levels of maximal saturation than others. However, typical and unique red, yellow, green, and blue are not particularly colorful. Many other intermediate colors have a larger range of discriminable saturation than these colors. These findings suggest that prior claims of perceptual salience of category prototypes and unique hues actually reflect biases in stimulus sets rather than perceptual properties. Additional analyses show that consistent prototype choices across fundamentally different languages are strongly related to the variation of discriminable saturation in the stimulus sets. Our findings also undermine the idea that every color can be produced by a mixture of unique hues. Finally, the measurements in this study provide a large amount of data on saturation across hues, which allows for reevaluating existing estimates of saturation in future studies.
1534-7362
1-26
Witzel, Christoph
dfb994f1-7007-441a-9e1a-ddb167f44166
Maule, John
2e5a642b-49ac-43d1-9e3f-fb308ad474dc
Franklin, Anna
1a56e087-f53d-4c87-a22e-79d052c3be7e
Witzel, Christoph
dfb994f1-7007-441a-9e1a-ddb167f44166
Maule, John
2e5a642b-49ac-43d1-9e3f-fb308ad474dc
Franklin, Anna
1a56e087-f53d-4c87-a22e-79d052c3be7e

Witzel, Christoph, Maule, John and Franklin, Anna (2019) Red, yellow, green, and blue are not particularly colorful. Journal of Vision, 19 (14), 1-26, [27]. (doi:10.1167/19.14.27).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Colorfulness and saturation have been neglected in research on color appearance and color naming. Perceptual particularities, such as cross-cultural stability, “focality,” “uniqueness,” “salience,” and “prominence” have been observed for red, yellow, green, and blue when those colors were more saturated than other colors in the stimulus samples. The present study tests whether high saturation is a characteristic property of red, yellow, green, and blue, which would explain the above observations. First, we carefully determined the category prototypes and unique hues for red, yellow, green, and blue. Using different approaches in two experiments, we assessed discriminable saturation as the number of just noticeable differences away from the adaptation point (i.e., neutral gray). Results show that some hues can reach much higher levels of maximal saturation than others. However, typical and unique red, yellow, green, and blue are not particularly colorful. Many other intermediate colors have a larger range of discriminable saturation than these colors. These findings suggest that prior claims of perceptual salience of category prototypes and unique hues actually reflect biases in stimulus sets rather than perceptual properties. Additional analyses show that consistent prototype choices across fundamentally different languages are strongly related to the variation of discriminable saturation in the stimulus sets. Our findings also undermine the idea that every color can be produced by a mixture of unique hues. Finally, the measurements in this study provide a large amount of data on saturation across hues, which allows for reevaluating existing estimates of saturation in future studies.

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Accepted/In Press date: 22 May 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 December 2019
Published date: 30 December 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 438046
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/438046
ISSN: 1534-7362
PURE UUID: 7e06dbda-caea-4555-9435-667010d4a188
ORCID for Christoph Witzel: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9944-2420

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Date deposited: 26 Feb 2020 17:31
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:21

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Author: John Maule
Author: Anna Franklin

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