A New Take on Hering's Theories

This simple color model illustration relates to Ewald Hering’s opponent color theory. However, a newly published research paper reviews the psychological and physiological evidence for Hering’s Opponent Colors Theory and concludes the theory is wrong. 

According to Conway, Malik-Moraleda, & Gibson, behavioral work shows that the theory’s three appearance mechanisms (red-versus-green, blue-versus-yellow, and black-versus-white) are not necessary to describe color. Physiological work shows that neural color-encoding mechanisms are not characterized by tuning to the opponent colors of the theory. Contrary to Opponent-Colors Theory, the color encoding mechanisms of the brain are not evident in perception. A new Utility-Based Coding framework is described in the paper, by which color depends on many interacting brain areas. Encoding mechanisms efficiently capture and transmit to the cortex as much chromatic information as possible given selective pressures for both color and high acuity vision, while appearance reflects adaptable neural operations that optimally support behavior under changing contexts and objectives. 

The authors - Bevil Conway, Saima Malik-Moraleda and Edward Gibson - are from the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute and National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD; Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, M.I.T., Cambridge, MA; and the Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, respectively. 

Conway, B. R., Malik-Moraleda, S. & Gibson, E. (2023). Color appearance and the end of Hering’s Opponent-Colors Theory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2023.06.003 You can access the paper via this link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136466132300147X Image: Hering’s opponent color model restored by Zena O’Connor © Color Design Resources, 2023. #colormodel #colortheory #Hering #Heringcolormodel #opponentcolortheory

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