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Seeing Black and White
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Seeing Black and White

Alan Gilchrist


How the human visual system determines the lightness of a surface, that is, its whiteness, blackness, or grayness, remains, like vision in general, a mystery. In fact, we have not been able to create a machine that can determine, through an artificial vision system, whether an object is white, black, or gray. Although the photoreceptors in the eye are driven by light, the light reflected by a surface does not reveal its shade of gray. Depending upon the level of illumination, a surface of any shade of gray can reflect any amount of light. This book ties together over thirty years of the author ... More

Keywords: grayness, photoreceptors, lightness, history of lightness, theories of lightness, gestalt, Lajos Kardos, lightness errors, illusions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780195187168
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195187168.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alan Gilchrist, author
Rutgers University