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This is my first time askin on Cog Sci board, not sure this is a right place to ask but I think it's something relates to Psychology and Cognitive Science.

So yesterday I bought a shirt that looked very nice on my with its grayish color. I brought it back home and tried it again but I was surprised that the color was not as grayish as I had seen in the store, but rather bluish. Thought I picked up the wrong one so I asked my roommate but he said that it had happened to him once before that the color didn't turn out to be exactly the same as he had seen in store.

I'm interested in that phenomena but don't really have enough knowledge in that field to search for a right term or word. So can you please explain that phenomena in short and which field/term should I dig into in order to explore it more?

Thank you

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It's difficult to say why this happened in your particular situation, but one contributing factor may be that color perception is relative. How a particular color is perceived depends on the surrounding colors. The best way to demonstrate this is through an optical illusion:

green/blue heart illusion

It looks like there are two different color hearts, but all of the hearts are exactly the same color. The illusion is created because the "green" hearts are striped with orange lines, and the "blue" hearts are striped with purple lines. Since color processing is relative, the different stripes cause us to perceive the underlying color very differently.This illusion comes from Akiyoshi Kitaoka's website, where there are several more examples.

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  • $\begingroup$ very nice, thank you. too bad that i cannot connect to that website, is it restricted or something? $\endgroup$ – Pete Feb 24 '15 at 19:12
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The issue is probably the same as with fruits. Different lights produce different appearance. LED light has been shown to produce daylight appearance. I however can't find a high quality source.

http://news.discovery.com/human/led-lights-grocery-shopping-110308.htm

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  • $\begingroup$ the article is great, thnak you $\endgroup$ – Pete Feb 24 '15 at 19:11
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Lighting in the store makes a lot of difference. Though there isn't much incandescent any more, florescent bulbs vary. The reflective properties of the area matter, too. My biggest problem is matching socks having a brown component with my clothes. Under one light they're brown. Under another light they're green. When I get to work I'm dismayed.

Also, stores place items together in an ideal situation to sell, which often does not exist outside the store.

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