opponent-process theory

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The theory of colour vision put forward by the German psychologist and physiologist Ewald Hering (1834–1918), or any of its more recent variants, according to which there are three classes of bipolar photoreceptors or visual afferent neurons responding to white versus black, red versus green, and blue versus yellow differences in visible light. Physiological research has shown this theory to be essentially correct for stages of the visual system after the initial receptor stage, whereas the trichromatic theory, according to which colour vision depends on three types of receptors responsive to the primary colours (1), is essentially correct at the receptor level. Also called the tetrachromatic theory. See also achromatic system, blue-yellow cell, red-green cell.

Subjects: Psychology.

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