Difference scaling of gloss: nonlinearity, binocularity, and constancy

J Vis. 2004 Aug 30;4(9):711-20. doi: 10.1167/4.9.4.


Gloss is an attribute of visual appearance that originates from the geometrical distribution of the light reflected by the surface. We used the maximum likelihood difference scaling (MLDS) procedure (L.T. Maloney & J. N. Yang, 2003) to estimate gloss scales over an extended range. Observers' judgments were obtained for a series of 10 black, coated samples for two directions of illumination, in binocular and monocular vision. The results showed a nonlinear relation between gloss percept and instrumental specular gloss values. Sensitivity is higher at extreme scale values than in the middle. In binocular vision, the sensitivity to gloss is higher than in monocular vision exclusively for high gloss levels. Lastly, we found that gloss difference scales, when expressed in terms of the samples rather than the photometric characteristics, vary little with the direction of illumination. Gloss scaling thus seems to be independent of the geometrical variations of the luminous flux at the surface of the sample. By analogy with the term "color constancy," we call this property "gloss constancy."

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Lighting
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*