Relative contributions of low- and high-luminance components to material perception

Takehiro Nagai, Yuta Hosaka, Tomoharu Sato, Ichiro Kuriki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Besides specular highlights, image pixels that represent clues to recognizing the object material, such as shading between threads of fabrics, often yield relatively lower luminance in the image. Here, we psychophysically examined how lower and higher luminance components contribute to material perception. We created two types of luminance-modulated images-low- and highluminance- preserved (LLP and HLP) images-and instructed observers to choose which modified image resulted in a material impression closer to the original. LLP images were created by compressing the luminance contrast of the higher half of the histogram in each original photograph and vice versa. The stimuli were photographs of various samples of stone, wood, leather, and fabric. Although the LLP and HLP images were equally chosen, the choice ratios of the HLP images largely differed across the samples and categories and moderately correlated with the luminance statistics of higher-spatial-frequency subbands. These results suggest that either the lower- or higher-luminance components play an important role in material perception, depending on the material category. However, the correlation with sub-band image statistics for stone/wood samples was much weaker than for leather/fabric samples, suggesting that more intricate image characteristics may be involved in evaluating the material impressions of the stone/wood samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


  • Image statistics
  • Material perception
  • Psychophysics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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