Abstract

Our visual perception of the world - seeing form and colour or navigating the environment - depends on the interaction of light and matter in the environment. Light also has a more fundamental role in regulating rhythms in physiology and behaviour, as well as in the acute secretion of hormones such as melatonin and changes in alertness, where light exposure at short-time, medium-time and long-time scales has different effects on these visual and non-visual functions. Yet patterns of light exposure in the real world are inherently messy: we move in and out of buildings and are therefore exposed to mixtures of artificial and natural light, and the physical makeup of our environment can also drastically alter the spectral composition and spatial distribution of the emitted light. In spatial vision, the examination of natural image statistics has proven to be an important driver in research. Here, we expand this concept to the spectral domain and develop the concept of the 'spectral diet' of humans.

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