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Title: The role of chromatic texture and 3D shape in colour discrimination, memory colour, and colour constancy of natural objects
Author: Vurro, Milena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 9486
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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The primary goal of this work was to investigate colour perception in a natural environment and to contribute to the understanding of how cues to familiar object identity influence colour appearance. A large number of studies on colour appearance employ 2D uniformly coloured patches, discarding perceptual cues such as binocular disparity, 3D luminance shading, mutual reflection, and glossy highlights are integral part of a natural scene. Moreover, natural objects possess specific cues that help our recognition (shape, surface texture or colour distribution). The aim of the first main experiment presented in this thesis was to understand the effect of shape on (1) memory colour under constant and varying illumination and on (2) colour constancy for uniformly coloured stimuli. The results demonstrated the existence of a range of memory colours associated with a familiar object, the size of which was strongly object-shape-dependent. For all objects, memory retrieval was significantly faster for object-diagnostic shape relative to generic shapes. Based on two successive controls, the author suggests that shape cues to the object identity affect the range of memory colour proportionally to the original object chromatic distribution. The second experiment examined the subject’s accuracy and precision in adjusting a stimulus colour to its typical appearance. Independently on the illuminant, results showed that memory colour accuracy and precision were enhanced by the presence of chromatic textures, diagnostic shapes, or 3D configurations with a strong interaction between diagnosticity and dimensionality of the shape. Hence, more cues to the object identity and more natural stimuli facilitate the observers in accessing their colour information from memory. A direct relationship was demonstrated between chromatic surface representation, object’s physical properties, and identificability and dimensionality of shape on memory colour accuracy, suggesting high-level mechanisms. Chromatic textures facilitated colour constancy. The third and fourth experiments tested the subject’s ability to discriminate between two chromatic stimuli in a simultaneous and successive 2AFC task, respectively. Simultaneous discrimination threshold performances for polychromatic surfaces were only due to low-level mechanism of the stimulus, whereas in the successive discrimination, i.e. when memory is involved, high-level mechanisms were established. The effect of shape was strongly task- dependent and was modulate by the object memory colour. These findings together with the strong interaction between chromatic cues and shape cues to the object identity lead to the conclusion that high level mechanisms linked to object recognition facilitated both tasks. Hence, the current thesis presents new findings on memory colour and colour constancy presented in a natural context and demonstrates the effect of high-level mechanisms in chromatic discrimination as a function of cues to the object identity such as shape and texture. This work contributes to a deeper understanding of colour perception and object recognition in the natural world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available