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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 Contrast Period

The Contrast Period

(p.76) 5 The Contrast Period
Seeing Black and White

Alan Gilchrist

Oxford University Press

Chronologically the fourth period of lightness theory, also known as the contrast period, extended from World War II until the end of the 1960s. Ideologically, however, it began at the end of the 19th century, ignoring the intervening work of David Katz and the Gestalt psychologists. The contrast period was dominated by the behaviorists, who believed in the physiological mechanism of lateral inhibition. Contrast theorists took up the debate right where it had been left off in 1900, amidst the Ewald Hering/Hermann von Helmholtz controversy — and they sided overwhelmingly with Hering. Two theories came to dominate this period, those of D. Jameson and L. Hurvich and of Tom Cornsweet, both derived from Hering. Other important theories of the time, such as Harry Helson's adaptation-level theory and Hans Wallach's ratio theory, were assimilated to Hering's theory of contrast.

Keywords:   contrast, lightness, lateral inhibition, Ewald Hering, gradient theories, brightness, luminance, lightness constancy, opponent-process theory, Tom Cornsweet

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