Network simulations of retinal and cortical contributions to color constancy

Susan M. Courtney, Leif H. Finkel, Gershon Buchsbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A biologically-based neural network simulation is used to analyze the contributions to color perception of each of several processing steps in the visual system from the retina to cortical area V4. We consider the effects on color constancy and color induction of adaptation, spectral opponency, non-linearities including saturation and rectification, and spectrally-specific long-range inhibition. This last stage is a novel mechanism based on cells which have been described in V4. The model has been tested with simulations of several well known psychophysical color constancy and color induction experiments. We conclude from these simulations the following: (1) a simple push-pull spectrally specific contrast mechanism, using large surrounds analogous to those found in V4, is very effective in producing general color constancy and color induction behavior; (2) given some spatio-temporal averaging, receptor adaptation can also produce a degree of color constancy; (3) spectrally opponent processes have spatial frequency dependent responses to color and brightness contrast which affect the contribution of the V4 mechanism to color constancy in images with nonuniform backgrounds; and (4) the effect of the V4 mechanism depends on the difference between center and surround while the effect of adaptation depends on the total sum of inputs from both center and surround and therefore the two stages cooperate to increase the range of stimulus conditions under which color constancy can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-434
Number of pages22
JournalVision Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Color constancy
  • Color induction
  • V4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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