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Proceedings Paper

Visual search for basic versus nonbasic chromatic targets
Author(s): Robert M. Boynton; Harvey S. Smallman
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Paper Abstract

At the OSA topical meeting on Applied Vision in July, 1989, we presented evidence showing that, when focal examples of basic colors were employed, as many as nine kinds of irrelevant colors could be added to an information display with very little increase in the time required to search for a target of known color containing a critical spatial element. [1] Here we compare search performance using seven chromatic basic colors with that obtained with seven nonbasic ones. The seven nonbasic colors were selected to be separated from other nonbasic colors by approximately the same number of discriminably-different steps as were the seven basic colors separated from one another. Our prediction that critical targets of basic colors would nevertheless be spotted faster than those of nonbasic colors was not supported. Compared to performance when the critical-target color was unknown, search times were very short and similar for the two color types, including a condition involving 140 stimuli in the display (70 basic and 70 nonbasic), 130 of which were distractors of 13 irrelevant colors. We conclude that useful color coding for visual search probably depends upon the number of discriminable steps separating the colors, rather than their basic or nonbasic character.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 August 1990
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 1250, Perceiving, Measuring, and Using Color, (1 August 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.19696
Show Author Affiliations
Robert M. Boynton, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)
Harvey S. Smallman, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1250:
Perceiving, Measuring, and Using Color
Michael H. Brill, Editor(s)

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