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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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The Chromatic Mach Card

The Chromatic Mach Card

(p.382) Chapter 49 The Chromatic Mach Card
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions

Anya Hurlbert

Oxford University Press

The object colors that we see are constructed by the visual brain and may therefore be significantly influenced by other visual attributes we perceive the object to possess. This chapter describes an illusion that illustrates one such interdependence between perceived object shape and color. The Chromatic Mach Card is a folded concave card, one side painted white and the other magenta. When the card is perceived in inverted depth, or convex, the pinkish reflections cast by the magenta side onto the white side appear deeper in saturation and painted thereon. Like the nineteenth-century Mach Card that inspired it, the chromatic Mach Card demonstrates that the apparent surface reflectance properties of objects—and, hence, their colors—are inextricably linked to the perception of 3D shape and scene configuration via the visual brain’s inbuilt knowledge of the physics of mutual reflection.

Keywords:   color, shape, Mach Card, illusion, surface reflectance, mutual reflection, chromatic, 3D

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