A new study turns a 100-year-old understanding of color perception on its head

A new study turns a 100-year-old understanding of color perception on its head
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A new study corrects a key flaw in 3D mathematical space developed by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger and others and used for more than 100 years by scientists and industry to describe how your eye sees a color of another differs. The research has the potential to advance the visualization of scientific data, improve televisions, and recalibrate the textile and dye industries.

“The assumed shape of color space requires a paradigm shift,” said Roxana Bujack, a computer scientist with a math background who creates scientific visualizations at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Bujack is the lead author of a Los Alamos team paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences On the mathematics of color perception.

“Our research shows that the current mathematical model of how the eye perceives color differences is wrong. This model was proposed by Bernhard Riemann and developed by Hermann von Helmholtz and Erwin Schrödinger – all giants in mathematics and physics – and proving one of them wrong is pretty much a scientist’s dream,” Bujack said.

The modeling of human color perception enables the automation of image processingcomputer graphics and visualization Tasks.

“Our original idea was to develop algorithms to automatically enhance color maps for data visualization to make them easier to understand and interpret,” Bujack said. So the team was surprised to find that they were the first to find that the long-standing application of Riemannian geometry, which allows straight lines to be generalized to curved surfaces, didn’t work.

This visualization captures the 3D mathematical space used to map human color perception. A new mathematical representation has found that the line segments representing the distance between colors that are far apart do not add up correctly when using the previously accepted geometry. The research contradicts long-held assumptions and will improve a variety of practical applications of color theory. Photo credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

To create industry standards and a precise mathematical model of perception color space is needed. Early attempts used Euclidean spaces – the familiar geometry taught in many high schools; More advanced models used Riemannian geometry. The models draw red, green, and blue in 3D space. These are the colors most strongly registered by light detection cones on our retinas and, unsurprisingly, the colors that mix to create all images on your RGB computer screen.

In the study, which combines psychology, biology and mathematics, Bujack and her colleagues discovered that using Riemannian geometry overestimates the perception of large color differences. That’s because people perceive a large color difference as less than the sum you would get if you added small color differences that fall between two hues that are far apart.

Riemannian geometry cannot explain this effect.

“We didn’t expect that and we don’t know for sure geometry of it new colour room left,” Bujack said. “We can perhaps think of it as normal, but with an added cushioning or cradle function that pulls in long distances and makes them shorter. But we can’t prove it yet.”

Public perception of scientific results is distorted by colorful graphics

More information:
Roxana Bujack et al, The non-Riemannian nature of perceptual color space, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.211975311

Citation: Math error: A new study overturns 100-year-old understanding of color perception (2022, August 10), retrieved August 10, 2022 from – old-perception.html

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