The standard explanation of human color vision assumes the existence of three types of cones. While this model provides an easy explanation of the approximate three dimensional nature of color perception, there are a number of effects and aspects of color vision that are not explained. This talk will describe an alternative approach to the understanding of human color vision that dispels these mysteries, starting with the fundamental question of why the color receptors are cone-shaped and making the connection between form and function: cone shape and color vision. This approach explains a number of longstanding color vision enigmas. We specifically address a few of these effects, including: subjective color perception (induction of color precepts by temporally modulated achromatic illumination as in the Benham’s Top), the breakdown of metameric color matches under dynamic conditions, the similarity of purple and violet, the Stiles-Crawford Effect of the Second kind, and the varieties of color blindness.
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