Lin T-W, Sun C-W, 2008, "Representation or context as a cognitive strategy in colour constancy?" Perception 37(9) 1353 – 1367
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Representation or context as a cognitive strategy in colour constancy?
Ta-Wei Lin, Chun-Wang Sun
Received 25 September 2007, in revised form 29 January 2008; published online 1 August 2008
Abstract. If an identification task with colour constancy as its objective is carried out under drastically changing illumination, do people rely mainly on colour information or do they rely on other sources of information? This question suggested two hypotheses for testing: (i) context hypothesis: people rely mainly on colour information (spectral reflectance or illumination chromaticity) to achieve colour constancy; (ii) representation hypothesis: people rely mainly on all other clues associated with colour to achieve colour constancy, including form information (any shape elements) and space information (spatial coordinates or spatial correlation). Experiment 1 showed that form information was readily associated with colour information to produce implicit representation. This gave the best colour-constancy performance (95.72%) and the fastest processing speed, so it probably used a top – down process. However, it was also prone to error owing to assumptions. Space information was not readily associated with colour information so colour-constancy performance was halved (48.73%) and processing time doubled. When the subject was deprived of both information sources and only given colour information, this resulted in the longest reaction times and the worst colour-constancy performance (41.38%). These results clearly support the representation hypothesis rather than the context hypothesis. When all three clues were available at the same time, the order of preference was: symbol, location, then colour. Experiment 2 showed that when form information was the main clue, colour-constancy performance was conceptually driven and processed more quickly; this supports the representation hypothesis. However, when form information was not used, colour constancy was data-driven, processed more slowly, and achieved an inferior identification rate overall; this supports the context hypothesis.
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