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We tested whether surface specularity alone supports operational color constancy-the ability to discriminate changes in illumination or reflectance. Observers viewed short animations of illuminant or reflectance changes in rendered scenes containing a single spherical surface and were asked to classify the change. Performance improved with increasing specularity, as predicted from regularities in chromatic statistics. Peak performance was impaired by spatial rearrangements of image pixels that disrupted the perception of illuminated surfaces but was maintained with increased surface complexity. The characteristic chromatic transformations that are available with nonzero specularity are useful for operational color constancy, particularly if accompanied by appropriate perceptual organization.


Journal article


J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis

Publication Date





A306 - A318


Color, Color Perception, Humans, Lighting, Photic Stimulation, Psychophysics, Surface Properties