Psych M.D. - Opponent-Process Theory


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Term: Opponent-process theory
Definition (Myers):the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green (p. 210).1
Definition (alternative): The opponent-process theory of color vision was developed by Ewald Hering, who noted that there are some color combinations that we never see, such as reddish-green or yellowish-blue. Opponent-process theory suggests that color perception is controlled by the activity of two opponent systems; a blue-yellow mechanism and a red-green mechanism.2
Contextual explanation: The opponent-process theory explains why one cannot perceive both of the colors of the color pairs at the same time. This also tells us about the afterimage effect. After staring at a drawing, then stare at a blank white space, you will be able to see the drawing on the blank white space. This is because color processing in our brains occur in mainly 2 stages.
Related terms and concepts:
Psych M.D. - Opponent-Process Theory - The Neuron3
Related websites: insert links to external websites here
Sources: insert WAPA style citations here
  1. Myers, D. (2004). Psychology. Michigan: Worth.
  2. Wagner, K. V. (n.d.). Opponent Process Theory - What Is the Opponent Process Theory. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from http://psychology.about.com/od/sensationandperception/f/opponproc.htm
  3. http://www3.ntu.edu.sg/home5/pg04878518/ColorVision.html
Edited by: Jung-Ah Lee
Date of last edit: 9/10/09



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