Colour in Context
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Computer Vision Center

The effectiveness of disruptive coloration as a concealment strategy

Martin Stevens, Innes Cuthill, C. Alejandro Parraga, Tom Troscianko
Progress in Brain Research, Visual Perception Part 2 - Fundamentals of Awareness: Multi-Sensory Integration and High-Order Perception, Elsevier, Volume 155, page 49--64 - 2006
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Our understanding of camouflage has been developing for over 100 years. Several underlying principles have emerged. Background pattern matching, or crypsis, is insufficient to conceal objects because of edge information. Other strategies exist to disrupt the continuity of extended edges. These strategies are reviewed. We pay particular attention to the theory of disruptive coloration, which predicts that high-contrast elements located at the object edge will mask the perception of a target as belonging to a certain category of object, in spite of the fact that the edge elements are independently visible. Although this strategy has long been assumed to be effective, there has been a lack of supportive data involving the perception of targets by nonhuman animals. We present evidence, from a field study, in support of the notion that disruptive coloration reduces the chances of bird predation of artificial “moths.”

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BibTex references

@InCollection\{SCP2006,
  author       = "Martin Stevens and Innes Cuthill and C. Alejandro Parraga and Tom Troscianko",
  title        = "The effectiveness of disruptive coloration as a concealment strategy",
  booktitle    = "Progress in Brain Research, Visual Perception Part 2 - Fundamentals of Awareness: Multi-Sensory Integration and High-Order Perception",
  chapter      = "4",
  series       = "Progress in Brain Research",
  volume       = "155",
  pages        = "49--64",
  year         = "2006",
  editor       = "S. Martinez-Conde, S.L. Macknik, L.M. Martinez, J.-M. Alonso and P.U. Tse",
  publisher    = "Elsevier",
  keywords     = "camouflage; object perception; bird vision; disruptive coloration; crypsis; contour perception",
  abstract     = "Our understanding of camouflage has been developing for over 100 years. Several underlying principles have emerged. Background pattern matching, or crypsis, is insufficient to conceal objects because of edge information. Other strategies exist to disrupt the continuity of extended edges. These strategies are reviewed. We pay particular attention to the theory of disruptive coloration, which predicts that high-contrast elements located at the object edge will mask the perception of a target as belonging to a certain category of object, in spite of the fact that the edge elements are independently visible. Although this strategy has long been assumed to be effective, there has been a lack of supportive data involving the perception of targets by nonhuman animals. We present evidence, from a field study, in support of the notion that disruptive coloration reduces the chances of bird predation of artificial \“moths.\”",
  keywords     = "camouflage; object perception; bird vision; disruptive coloration; crypsis; contour perception",
  url          = "http://cat.uab.es/Public/Publications/2006/SCP2006"
}

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