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Do focal colors look particularly "colorful"?

If the most typical red, yellow, green, and blue were particularly colorful (i.e., saturated), they would "jump out to the eye." This would explain why even fundamentally different languages have distinct color terms for these focal colors, and why unique hues play a prominent role in subjective color appearance. In this study, the subjective saturation of 10 colors around each of these focal colors was measured through a pairwise matching task. Results show that subjective saturation changes systematically across hues in a way that is strongly correlated to the visual gamut, and exponentially related to sensitivity but not to focal colors.



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