Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Colorfulness


Retinoblastoma is the most common primary intraocular tumor in children. The first sign that is often reported by parents is the appearance of recurrent leukocoria (i.e., “white eye”) in recreational photographs. A quantitative definition or scale of leukocoria - as it appears during recreational photography - has not been established, and the amount of clinical information contained in a leukocoric image (collected by a parent) remains unknown. Moreover, the hypothesis that photographic leukocoria can be a sign of early stage retinoblastoma has not been tested for even a single patient. This study used commercially available software (Adobe Photoshop®) and standard color space conversion algorithms (operable in Microsoft Excel®) to quantify leukocoria in actual “baby pictures” of 9 children with retinoblastoma (that were collected by parents during recreational activities i.e., in nonclinical settings). One particular patient with bilateral retinoblastoma (“Patient Zero”) was photographed >7, 000 times by his parents (who are authors of this study) over three years: from birth, through diagnosis, treatment, and remission. This large set of photographs allowed us to determine the longitudinal and lateral frequency of leukocoria throughout the patient’s life. This study establishes: (i) that leukocoria can emerge at a low frequency in early-stage retinoblastoma and increase in frequency during disease progression, but decrease upon disease regression, (ii) that Hue, Saturation and Value (i.e., HSV color space) are suitable metrics for quantifying the intensity of retinoblastoma-linked leukocoria; (iii) that different sets of intraocular retinoblastoma tumors can produce distinct leukocoric reflections; and (iv) the Saturation-Value plane of HSV color space represents a convenient scale for quantifying and classifying pupillary reflections as they appear during recreational photography.

Concepts: Cancer, Color, Hue, Color space, Photography, Retinoblastoma, Photograph, Colorfulness


Recently systems have been developed to create total laboratory automation for clinical microbiology. These systems allow for automation of specimen processing, specimen incubation and imaging of bacterial growth. In this study we used the WASPLab to validate software that discriminates and segregates positive and negative chromogenic MRSA plates by recognition of pigmented colonies. A total of 57,690 swabs submitted for MRSA screening were enrolled in the study. Four sites enrolled specimens following their standard of care. Chromogenic agar used at these sites included: MRSASelect (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Redmond, WA), ChromID MRSA (BioMeriéux, Marcy-I'Etoile, France) and CHROMagar MRSA (BD Diagnostics, Sparks, MD). Specimens were plated and incubated using the WASPLab. The digital camera took images at 0 and 16-24h and the WASPLab software determined the presence of positive colonies based on a HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) score. If the HSV score fell within a defined threshold, the plate was called positive. Performance of the digital analysis was compared to manual reading. Overall the digital software had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 90.7% with the specificity ranging between 90.0 and 96.0 across all sites. Results were similar when using the three different agars with sensitivity observed to be 100% and specificity ranging from 90.7 and 92.4%. These data demonstrate that automated digital analysis can be used to accurately sort positive from negative chromogenic agar cultures regardless of pigmentation produced.

Concepts: Microbiology, Plate tectonics, Type I and type II errors, Automation, Pigment, Laboratory automation, Colorfulness, Laboratory equipment


Synaesthesia is a condition that gives rise to unusual secondary sensations (e.g., colours are perceived when listening to music). These unusual sensations tend to be reported as being stable throughout adulthood (e.g., Simner & Logie, 2007, Neurocase, 13, 358) and the consistency of these experiences over time is taken as the behavioural hallmark of genuineness. Our study looked at the influence of mood states on synaesthetic colours. In Experiment 1, we recruited grapheme-colour synaesthetes (who experience colours from letters/digits) and elicited their synaesthetic colours, as well as their mood and depression states, in two different testing sessions. In each session, participants completed the PANAS-X (Watson & Clark, 1999) and the BDI-II (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996, Manual for Beck Depression Inventory-II), and chose their synaesthetic colours for letters A-Z from an interactive colour palette. We found that negative mood significantly decreased the luminance of synaesthetic colours. In Experiment 2, we showed that synaesthetic colours were also less luminant for synaesthetes with anxiety disorder, versus those without. Additional evidence suggests that colour saturation, too, may inversely correlate with depressive symptoms. These results show that fluctuations in mood within both a normal and clinical range influence synaesthetic colours over time. This has implications for our understanding about the longitudinal stability of synaesthetic experiences, and of how mood may interact with the visual (imagery) systems.

Concepts: Psychology, Color, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Qualia, Hue, Synesthesia, Colorfulness, Secondary color


Subwavelength structural color filtering and printing technologies employing plasmonic nanostructures have recently been recognized as an important and beneficial complement to the traditional colorant-based pigmentation. However, the color saturation, brightness and incident angle tolerance of structural color printing need to be improved to meet the application requirement. Here we demonstrate a structural color printing method based on plasmonic metasurfaces of perfect light absorption to improve color performances such as saturation and brightness. Thin-layer perfect absorbers with periodic hole arrays are designed at visible frequencies and the absorption peaks are tuned by simply adjusting the hole size and periodicity. Near perfect light absorption with high quality factors are obtained to realize high-resolution, angle-insensitive plasmonic color printing with high color saturation and brightness. Moreover, the fabricated metasurfaces can be protected with a protective coating for ambient use without degrading performances. The demonstrated structural color printing platform offers great potential for applications ranging from security marking to information storage.

Concepts: Photon, Electromagnetic radiation, Color, Printing, Hue, Visible spectrum, Color theory, Colorfulness


Inspired by Steller’s jay, which displays angle-independent structural colors, angle-independent structurally colored materials are created, which are composed of amorphous arrays of submicrometer-sized fine spherical silica colloidal particles. When the colloidal amorphous arrays are thick, they do not appear colorful but almost white. However, the saturation of the structural color can be increased by (i) appropriately controlling the thickness of the array and (ii) placing the black background substrate. This is similar in the case of the blue feather of Steller’s jay. Based on the knowledge gained through the biomimicry of structural colored materials, colloidal amorphous arrays on the surface of a black particle as the core particle are also prepared as colorful photonic pigments. Moreover, a structural color on-off system is successfully built by controlling the background brightness of the colloidal amorphous arrays.

Concepts: Color, White, White people, Silicon dioxide, Hue, Color theory, Dominant wavelength, Colorfulness


Camouflage is found in a wide range of species living in numerous habitat types, offering protection from visually guided predators. This includes many species from the intertidal zone, which must cope with background types diverse in appearance and with multiple predator groups foraging at high and low tide. Many animals are capable of either relatively slow (hours, days, weeks) or rapid (seconds and minutes) colour change in order to better resemble the background against which they are found, but most work has been restricted to a few species or taxa. It is often suggested that many small intertidal fish are capable of colour change for camouflage, yet little experimental work has addressed this. Here, we test rock gobies (Gobius paganellus) for colour change abilities, and whether they can tune their appearance to match the background. In two experiments, we place gobies on backgrounds of different brightness (black or white), and of different colours (red and blue) and use digital image analysis and modelling of predator (avian) vision to quantify colour and luminance (perceived lightness) changes and camouflage. We find that gobies are capable of rapid colour change (occurring within one minute), and that they can change their luminance on lighter or darker backgrounds. When presented on backgrounds of different colours, gobies also change their colour (hue and saturation) while keeping luminance the same. These changes lead to predicted improvements in camouflage match to the background. Our study shows that small rockpool fish are capable of rapid visual change for concealment, and that this may be an important mechanism in many species to avoid predation, especially in complex heterogeneous environments.

Concepts: Predation, Color, Hue, Intertidal zone, Tide, Dominant wavelength, Colorfulness, Tide pool


Previous studies on emotional effects of color often failed to control all the three perceptual dimensions of color: hue, saturation, and brightness. Here, we presented a three-dimensional space of chromatic colors by independently varying hue (blue, green, red), saturation (low, medium, high), and brightness (dark, medium, bright) in a factorial design. The 27 chromatic colors, plus 3 brightness-matched achromatic colors, were presented via an LED display. Participants (N = 62) viewed each color for 30 s and then rated their current emotional state (valence and arousal). Skin conductance and heart rate were measured continuously. The emotion ratings showed that saturated and bright colors were associated with higher arousal. The hue also had a significant effect on arousal, which increased from blue and green to red. The ratings of valence were the highest for saturated and bright colors, and also depended on the hue. Several interaction effects of the three color dimensions were observed for both arousal and valence. For instance, the valence ratings were higher for blue than for the remaining hues, but only for highly saturated colors. Saturated and bright colors caused significantly stronger skin conductance responses. Achromatic colors resulted in a short-term deceleration in the heart rate, while chromatic colors caused an acceleration. The results confirm that color stimuli have effects on the emotional state of the observer. These effects are not only determined by the hue of a color, as is often assumed, but by all the three color dimensions as well as their interactions.

Concepts: Color, Green, Red, Hue, Color theory, Color wheel, Dominant wavelength, Colorfulness


In merits of super-resolved resolution and fast speed of three-dimensional (3D) optical sectioning capability, structured illumination microscopy (SIM) has found variety of applications in biomedical imaging. So far, most SIM systems use monochrome CCD or CMOS cameras to acquire images and discard the natural color information of the specimens. Although multicolor integration scheme are employed, multiple excitation sources and detectors are required and the spectral information is limited to a few of wavelengths. Here, we report a new method for full-color SIM with a color digital camera. A data processing algorithm based on HSV (Hue, Saturation, and Value) color space is proposed, in which the recorded color raw images are processed in the Hue, Saturation, Value color channels, and then reconstructed to a 3D image with full color. We demonstrated some 3D optical sectioning results on samples such as mixed pollen grains, insects, micro-chips and the surface of coins. The presented technique is applicable to some circumstance where color information plays crucial roles, such as in materials science and surface morphology.

Concepts: Light, Color, Computer graphics, Image processing, Color theory, Camera, Raw image format, Colorfulness


This study aimed to compare the response of performance-matched black and white runners during maximal and sub-maximal running in normoxic and hypoxic conditions. 14 well-trained runners (8 black, 6 white) performed 2 incremental maximal exercise tests and 2 fatigue resistance tests at 21% O2 (normoxia) or 14% O2 (hypoxia). Respiratory parameters, heart rate (HR), lactate concentration ([La-]) as well as arterial saturation (SpO2) were measured. Enzyme activities and myosin heavy chain content (MHC) were also measured. White runners reached a significantly greater peak treadmill speed and a higher HRmax than black runners in hypoxia (p<0.05). Additionally, White runners achieved a greater time to fatigue than black runners (p<0.05), with black runners displaying a greater decline in performance in hypoxia compared to normoxia (20.3% vs. 13.4%, black vs. white, respectively). However, black runners presented lower [La-] and higher SpO2 than white runners in hypoxia (p<0.05). Black runners had a higher proportion of MHC IIa and higher lactate dehydrogenase activity (p<0.05). The greater performance impairment observed in black runners in hypoxia suggests a greater performance sensitivity to this condition, despite the maintenance of physiological variables such as SpO2 and [La - ] within a smaller range than white runners.

Concepts: Black people, Myosin, Color, Hypoxia, Performance, Lactate dehydrogenase, Hue, Colorfulness


The present study investigates the hypothesis that brightness of colors is associated with positivity, postulating that this is an automatic and universal effect. The Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) was used in all studies. Study 1 used color patches varying on brightness, Study 2 used achromatic stimuli to eliminate the potential confounding effects of hue and saturation. Study 3 replicated Study 2 in a different cultural context (Japan vs. Austria), both studies also included a measure of explicit association. All studies confirmed the hypothesis that brightness is associated with positivity, at a significance level of p < .001 and Cohen's D varying from 0.90 to 3.99. Study 1-3 provided support for the notion that this is an automatic effect. Additionally, Study 2 and Study 3 showed that people also have an explicit association of brightness with positivity. However, as expected, our results also show that the implicit association was stronger than the explicit association. Study 3 shows clear support for the universality of our effects. In sum, our results support the idea that brightness is associated with positivity and that these associations are automatic and universal.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Color, Effect size, Cultural studies, Hue, Statistical power, Dominant wavelength, Colorfulness