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Modeling color preference using color space metrics

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Anya Hurlbert



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. Studying color preferences provides a means to discover how perceptual experiences map onto cognitive and affective judgments. A challenge is finding a parsimonious way to describe and predict patterns of color preferences, which are complex with rich individual differences. One approach has been to model color preferences using factors from metric color spaces to establish direct correspondences between dimensions of color and preference. Prior work established that substantial, but not all, variance in color preferences could be captured by weights on color space dimensions using multiple linear regression. The question we address here is whether model fits may be improved by using different color metric specifications. We therefore conducted a large-scale analysis of color space models, and focused in-depth analysis on models that differed in color space (cone-contrast vs. CIELAB), coordinate system within the color space (Cartesian vs. cylindrical), and factor degrees (1st degree only, or 1st and 2nd degree). We used k-fold cross validation to avoid over-fitting the data and to ensure fair comparisons across models. The best model was the 2nd-harmonic Lch model ("LabC Cyl2"). Specified in CIELAB space, it included 1st and 2nd harmonics of hue (capturing opponency in hue preferences and simultaneous liking/disliking of both hues on an opponent axis, respectively), lightness, and chroma. These modeling approaches can be used to characterize and compare patterns for group averages and individuals in future datasets on color preference, or other measures in which correspondences between color appearance and cognitive or affective judgments may exist.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schloss KB, Lessard L, Racey C, Hurlbert AC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Vision Research

Year: 2018

Volume: 151

Pages: 99-116

Print publication date: 01/10/2018

Online publication date: 28/07/2017

Acceptance date: 03/07/2017

Date deposited: 06/11/2017

ISSN (print): 0042-6989

ISSN (electronic): 1878-5646

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2017.07.001


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