Brightness with and without perceived transparency: When does it make a difference?

Frederick A.A. Kingdom, Barbara Blakeslee, Mark E. McCourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Subjects matched the brightness of test patches whose inner (adjacent) surrounds appeared either as transparent overlays on a wider background that included the test patch or as regions differing in reflectance from the test patch and the outer surround. In the above configurations the luminance and spatial extent of the inner surround was identical, thus controlling for the effects of surround luminance. Configuration condition had a significant effect on test-patch brightness. In general, test-patch brightness was significantly elevated under conditions favouring the interpretation of the stimulus as including a transparent overlay. The largest effect occurred for the configuration in which the perception of transparency was supported by stereo depth cues. The brightness effect was mediated by the virtual transmittance of the transparent overlay, increasing in magnitude with decreasing transmittance. Further, the effect of transparency on brightness was greatest for test-patch luminances near to those of their immediate surrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-506
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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