Heliyon 6 (6):e04375 (2020)

Birgitta Dresp-Langley
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Victor Vasarely's (1906–1997) important legacy to the study of human perception is brought to the forefront and discussed. A large part of his impressive work conveys the appearance of striking three-dimensional shapes and structures in a large-scale pictorial plane. Current perception science explains such effects by invoking brain mechanisms for the processing of monocular (2D) depth cues. Here in this study, we illustrate and explain local effects of 2D color and contrast cues on the perceptual organization in terms of figure-ground assignments, i.e. which local surfaces are likely to be seen as “nearer” or “bigger” in the image plane. Paired configurations are embedded in a larger, structurally ambivalent pictorial context inspired by some of Vasarely's creations. The figure-ground effects these configurations produce reveal a significant correlation between perceptual solutions for “nearer” and “bigger” when other geometric depth cues are missing. In consistency with previous findings on similar, albeit simpler visual displays, a specific color may compete with luminance contrast to resolve the planar ambiguity of a complex pattern context at a critical point in the hierarchical resolution of figure-ground uncertainty. The potential role of color temperature in this process is brought forward here. Vasarely intuitively understood and successfully exploited the subtle context effects accounted for in this paper, well before empirical investigation had set out to study and explain them in terms of information processing by the visual brain.
Keywords Perception   Monocular Depth Cues   Luminance Contrast   Shape   Color   Color Temperature   Figure-Ground   Gestalt   Visual Arts   Victor Vasarély
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Effects of Color on Emotions.Patricia Valdez & Albert Mehrabian - 1994 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 123 (4):394-409.

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