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Naming versus matching and the stability of unique hues

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It is known that there is a distortion of hue and saturation in the peripheral visual field. In a previous study, when an asymmetric matching paradigm was used, four hues in the blue, red, yellow and green regions of colour space were unchanged and these were referred to as peripherally invariant (Parry et al., J Opt Soc Am A, 23, 2006, 1586). Three of these invariant hues were similar to unique blue, red and yellow. However, for most observers there was a marked difference between unique and invariant green. To investigate this apparent paradox, we have measured unique hues using a range of eccentricities and colourimetric purities. An asymmetric matching and a 4-AFC paradigm were used to establish peripherally invariant and unique hues, respectively. In the asymmetric matching task the observer matched a peripheral spot with a para-foveal spot, for 24 different hues at 18 degrees eccentricity. In the 4-AFC paradigm, 41 hues were presented 20 times at three purities (0.5, 0.75 and 1.0) and three eccentricities (18 degrees, 10 degrees and 1 degrees). The observer had to name the hues as red, blue, green or yellow. Unique hues were found to be constant with eccentricity and purity. The unique green, established with 4-AFC, was found to differ from the invariant green, determined using the matching task. However, red, blue and yellow invariant hues correspond well with unique hues. The data suggest that different mechanisms mediate the matching of green compared with the identification of unique hues. This is similar to the difference between detection and discrimination of spectral stimuli: the detection process is dominated by the cone opponent mechanisms and is most sensitive, whereas more central processes, serving unique hues, influence discrimination.

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