Spatiochromatic properties of natural images and human vision

CA Párraga, T Troscianko, DJ Tolhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


The human visual system shows a relatively greater response to low spatial frequencies of chromatic spatial modulation than to luminance spatial modulation [1]. However, previous work [2 and 3] has shown that this differential sensitivity to low spatial frequencies is not reflected in any differential luminance and chromatic content of general natural scenes. This is contrary to the prevailing assumption that the spatial properties of human vision ought to reflect the structure of natural scenes [4, 5 and 6]. Now, colorimetric measures of scenes suggest that red-green (and perhaps blue-yellow) color discrimination in primates is particularly suited to the encoding of specific scenes: reddish or yellowish objects on a background of leaves [7, 8, 9 and 10]. We therefore ask whether the spatial, as well as chromatic, properties of such scenes are matched to the different spatial-encoding properties of color and luminance modulation in human vision. We show that the spatiochromatic properties of a wide class of scenes, which contain reddish objects (e.g., fruit) on a background of leaves, correspond well to the properties of the red-green (but not blue-yellow) systems in human vision, at viewing distances commensurate with typical grasping distance. This implies that the red-green system is particularly suited to encoding both the spatial and the chromatic structure of such scenes.
Translated title of the contributionSpatiochromatic properties of natural images and human vision
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483 - 487
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume12 (6)
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Elsevier


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