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Lee, Te-Won; Wachtler, Thomas ORCID: 0000-0003-2015-6590; Sejnowski, Terrence J. (2002): Color opponency is an efficient representation of spectral properties in natural scenes. In: Vision Research, Vol. 42, No. 17, PII S0042-6989(02)00122-0: pp. 2095-2103
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Abstract

The human visual system encodes the chromatic signals conveyed by the three types of retinal cone photoreceptors in an opponent fashion. This opponency is thought to reduce redundant information by decorrelating the photoreceptor signals. Correlations in the receptor signals are caused by the substantial overlap of the spectral sensitivities of the receptors, but it is not clear to what extent the properties of natural spectra contribute to the correlations. To investigate the influences of natural spectra and photoreceptor spectral sensitivities, we attempted to find linear codes with minimal redundancy for trichromatic images assuming human cone spectral sensitivities, or hypothetical non-overlapping cone sensitivities, respectively. The resulting properties of basis functions are similar in both cases. They are non-orthogonal, show strong opponency along an achromatic direction (luminance edges) and along chromatic directions, and they achieve a highly efficient encoding of natural chromatic signals. Thus, color opponency arises For the encoding of human cone signals, i.e. with strongly overlapping spectral sensitivities, but also under the assumption of non-overlapping spectral sensitivities. Our results suggest that color opponency may in part be a result of the properties of natural spectra and not solely a consequence of the cone spectral sensitivities. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.