On the dichromatic object-colour palette

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The object- and light-colour palettes prove to be different for both trichromats and dichromats. This explains why there is no consensus on what colours dichromats see, since, until now, studies of dichromatic vision have mainly focused on the light-colour palette. By contrast, this study concentrates on the dichromatic object-colour palette, assuming that it is as much determined by optimal reflectances as the trichromatic palette. In this case, the dichromatic object-colour palette is simply part of the trichromatic object-colour palette. This is a consequence of the fact that the dichromatic optimal reflectances bring about identical perceptions in both dichromats and trichromats. Since the optimal reflectances cannot be physically implemented, a set of Munsell chips was selected that was close enough to the dichromatic optimal reflectances. By examining these chips, trichromats can get an idea of what the dichromatic object-colour palette looks like. These chips clearly contain red, green and blue component hues. As to green, it was tinged with such a considerable amount of white that it was hard to judge its presence even for trichromatic observers. By hue scaling, the amount of component hues (Y, B, R, G, W and Bk) that trichromats see in these chips was evaluated. Although the amount of green was found to be low, its presence for some chips was statistically significant. Thus, dichromats should see all six component hues. Also, the opponency of black and white was confirmed, which contradicts the generally accepted view that grey is a mixture of black and white.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalVision Research
Early online date20 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Colour vision
  • Dichromatic perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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