Scalar Invariance in Opponent Colour Theory and the ‘Discounting the Background’ Principle

  • Rainer Mausfeld
  • Reinhard Niederée
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


The present paper discusses some theoretical questions pertaining to the ‘discounting the background’ hypothesis and its relation to opponent colour theory. Different such hypotheses are distinguished and their relation is outlined. Emphasis is placed on juxtaposing qualitative laws and quantitative representations thereof, as common in measurement-theory.


Colour Code Colour Appearance Unique Colour Proportionality Rule Chromatic Adaptation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Elzinga, C., & de Weert, C.M.M. (1984). Nonlinear codes for yellow/blue mechanism. Vision Research, 24, 911–922.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Grassmann, H. (1853). Zur Theorie der Farbmischung. Poggendorffs Annalen der Physik, 89, 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Heggelund, H. (1974). Achromatic color vision. I: Perceptive variables of achromatic colors. Vision Research, 14, 1071–1079.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hering, E. (1920). Grundzüge der Lehre vom Lichtsinn. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Jameson, D., & Hurvich, L. M. (1972). Color adaptation: Sensitivity, contrast, after-images. In D. Jameson & L. M. Hurvich (Eds.), Handbook of Sensory Physiology. Vol. VII/4. Visual Psychophysics (pp. 568- 881). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Krantz, D. H. (1975a). Color measurement and color theory: I. Representation theorem for Grassmann structures. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 12, 283–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Krantz, D. H. (1975b). Color measurement and color theory. II: Opponent-colors theory. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 12, 304–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kries, J.v. (1882). Die Gesichtsempfindungen und ihre Analyse. Leipzig: Veit.Google Scholar
  9. Land, E.H. (1986). Recent advances in Retinex theory. Vision Research, 26, 7–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Larimer, J. (1981). Red/green opponent colors equilibria measured on chromatic adapting fields: Evidence for gain changes and restoring forces. Vision Research, 21, 501–512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Larimer, J., Krantz, D. H., & Cicerone, C. M. (1974). Opponent-process additivity. I. Red/green equilibria. Vision Research, 14, 1127–1140.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Larimer, J., Krantz, D.H., & Cicerone, C.M. (1975). Opponent-process additivity. II. Yellow-blue equilibria and nonlinear models. Vision Research, 15, 723–731.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mausfeld, R., & Niederée, R. (1989). A generalized “discounting the background” model extending the traditional Grassmannian approach to colour vision. In E. E. Roskam (Ed.) Mathematical Psychology in Progress (pp. 171–177). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Mausfeld, R., & Niederée, R. (1990). An inquiry into relational concepts of colour based on an incremental principle of colour coding for minimal relational stimuli. Bonner Methoden-Berichte, 6, 21. Bonn: Psychologisches Institut (to be submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  15. Nick, J., & Larimer, J. (1983). Yellow/blue cancellation on yellow fields: Its relevance to the two process theory. In J. D. Mollon & L.T. Sharpe (Eds.), Colour Vision. Physiology and Psychophysics (pp. 375–384). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  16. Schrödinger, E. (1920). Grundlinien einer Theorie der Farbenmetrik im Tagessehen. Annalen der Physik, 63, 397–456, 481–520.Google Scholar
  17. Schrödinger, E. (1925). Über das Verhältnis der Vierfarben- zur Dreifarbentheorie. Sitzungsbericht der Wiener Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, 134, 471–490.Google Scholar
  18. Shevell, S. K. (1978). The dual role of chromatic backgrounds in color perception. Vision Research, 18, 1649–1661.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shevell, S. K. (1982). Color perception under chromatic adaptation: Equilibrium yellow and long-wavelength adaptation. Vision Research, 22, 279–292.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Suppes, P., Krantz, D.H., Luce, R.D., & Tversky, A. Foundations of measurement. Vol II. Geometrical, Threshold, and Probabilisitc Representations. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  21. Uttal, W.R. (1967) Evoked brain potentials: Signs or codes? Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 10, 627–639.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Walraven, J. (1976). Discounting the background — The missing link in the explanation of chromatic induction. Vision Research, 16, 289–295.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Walraven, J. (1981a). Chromatic induction. Psychophysical studies on signal processing in human colour vision. Utrecht: Drukkerij Elinkwijk B.V.Google Scholar
  24. Walraven, J. (1981b). Perceived Colour under conditions of chromatic adaptation: Evidence for gain control by π mechanisms. Vision Research, 21, 611–620.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Werner, J. S., & Walraven, J. (1982). Effect of chromatic adaptation on the achromatic locus: The role of contrast, luminance and background color. Vision Research, 22, 929–943.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Whittle, P., & Challands, P. D. C. (1969). The effect of background luminance on the brightness of flashes. Vision Research, 9, 1095–1110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wyszecki, G., & Stiles, W. S. (1982). Color Science. Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae. (2nd Edition). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Mausfeld
    • 1
  • Reinhard Niederée
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychological InstituteUniversity of BonnBonn 1Germany
  2. 2.University of BonnGermany

Personalised recommendations