Motion of glossy objects does not promote separation of lighting and surface colour.
Lee RJ., Smithson HE.
The surface properties of an object, such as texture, glossiness or colour, provide important cues to its identity. However, the actual visual stimulus received by the eye is determined by both the properties of the object and the illumination. We tested whether operational colour constancy for glossy objects (the ability to distinguish changes in spectral reflectance of the object, from changes in the spectrum of the illumination) was affected by rotational motion of either the object or the light source. The different chromatic and geometric properties of the specular and diffuse reflections provide the basis for this discrimination, and we systematically varied specularity to control the available information. Observers viewed animations of isolated objects undergoing either lighting or surface-based spectral transformations accompanied by motion. By varying the axis of rotation, and surface patterning or geometry, we manipulated: (i) motion-related information about the scene, (ii) relative motion between the surface patterning and the specular reflection of the lighting, and (iii) image disruption caused by this motion. Despite large individual differences in performance with static stimuli, motion manipulations neither improved nor degraded performance. As motion significantly disrupts frame-by-frame low-level image statistics, we infer that operational constancy depends on a high-level scene interpretation, which is maintained in all conditions.