Perception of Gloss and Matt reflection

Philip Dorrell p at dorrell.demon.co.uk
Mon Feb 19 12:50:25 EST 1996


If an object reflects light by Matt reflection, then the colour and intensity 
of light coming from a given point on the surface of the object is roughly 
independent of the direction it is being seen from.

If it reflects light by Gloss reflection, then it depends both on the 
direction it is being seen from and on the position of the light source.

Humans can certainly perceive the 3-D shapes of objects whichever of these
two sorts of reflection is involved. But I imagine that the processing
involved must be different in each case, and may even involve distinct areas
of the brain (presumably in the visual cortex). And if an object is definitely
matt or gloss (and not somewhere in between), it would be necessary to inhibit
processing of the wrong kind.

Has anyone ever done neurological work relating to this issue ? Given current
technology, is it possible to do any useful research, for example, localising 
visual processing of matt-reflective or gloss-reflective objects, and 
observing inhibition of one processing area by the other ?

Philip Dorrell
p at dorrell.demon.co.uk



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