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Seeing Black and White$
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Alan Gilchrist

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195187168

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195187168.001.0001

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The Computational Period

The Computational Period

(p.125) 6 The Computational Period
Seeing Black and White

Alan Gilchrist

Oxford University Press

The end of the 1960s marked a new era in lightness perception. The shift from a contrast approach to a computational approach was part of a larger change taking place in psychology, a change that ended five decades of behaviorist hegemony. The shift from contrast thinking to computational thinking had a profound effect on theories of lightness. During the contrast period, theories had been driven by physiology, primarily in the form of lateral inhibition. Consistent with the behaviorist agenda, physiological validity was pursued as a means for making psychology materialistic. However, the computer provided an alternative definition of materialism. Computers made of copper and silicon store, process, and retrieve information using just code and mechanics.

Keywords:   lightness, lightness perception, computational approach, veridicality, relative luminance, retinal physiology, absolute luminance, edge coding, depth perception

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