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Relating cone signals to color appearance: Failure of monotonicity in yellow/blue

  • KENNETH KNOBLAUCH (a1) (a2) and STEVEN K. SHEVELL (a2) (a3)

Observers performed red–green and yellow–blue hue cancellation tasks for a 0.8-deg circular test field on a dark surround, by manipulating the excitation level of one cone class while the other two classes were held constant. The results of the red–green judgments conformed to classical opponent color theory in that both L- and S-cone excitation levels were antagonistic to M-cone signals. The yellow–blue judgments revealed a nonmonotonic nonlinearity in which the S-cone signal could act either antagonistically or synergistically with M- and L-cone signals. These results demonstrate that fixed hue sensations should not be associated with a given class of cone, even at the level of opponent neural coding.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kenneth Knoblauch, INSERM Unité 371, Cerveau et Vision, 18 avenue du Doyen Lépine, 69675 Bron cedex, France. E-mail:
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Visual Neuroscience
  • ISSN: 0952-5238
  • EISSN: 1469-8714
  • URL: /core/journals/visual-neuroscience
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