Discrimination of spectral reflectance under environmental illumination.
Morimoto T., Smithson HE.
Color constancy is the ability to recover a stable perceptual estimate of surface reflectance, regardless of the lighting environment. However, we know little about how observers make judgments of the surface color of glossy objects, particularly in complex lighting environments that introduce complex spatial patterns of chromatic variation across an object's surface. To address this question, we measured thresholds for reflectance discrimination using computer-rendered stimuli under environmental illumination. In Experiment 1, we found that glossiness and shape had small effects on discrimination thresholds. Importantly, discrimination ellipses extended along the direction in which the chromaticities in the environmental illumination spread. In Experiment 2, we also found that the observers' abilities to judge surface colors were worse in lighting environments with an atypical chromatic distribution.