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Chromatic assimilation unaffected by perceived depth of inducing light


Chromatic assimilation is a shift toward the color of nearby light. Several studies conclude that a neural process contributes to assimilation but the neural locus remains in question. Some studies posit a peripheral process, such as retinal receptive-field organization, while others claim the neural mechanism follows depth perception, figure/ground segregation, or perceptual grouping. The experiments here tested whether assimilation depends on a neural process that follows stereoscopic depth perception. By introducing binocular disparity, the test field judged in color was made to appear in a different depth plane than the light that induced assimilation. The chromaticity and spatial frequency of the inducing light, and the chromaticity of the test light, were varied. Chromatic assimilation was found with all inducing-light sizes and chromaticities, but the magnitude of assimilation did not depend on the perceived relative depth planes of the test and inducing fields. We found no evidence to support the view that chromatic assimilation depends on a neural process that follows binocular combination of the two eyes' signals.

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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Steven K. Shevell, Visual Science Laboratories, The University of Chicago, 940 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. E-mail:
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Visual Neuroscience
  • ISSN: 0952-5238
  • EISSN: 1469-8714
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