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Additive colour mixing

Definition:
Occurs when you mix lights, creating more light in the mixture than you would get from any one light.
 
Background:
When all wavelengths are mixed additively, this results in natural white light. Every time that light is added to an existing light, we add to the amount of light reflected in the observer's eye. Any hue will result in grey if it is additively mixed with more or less equal amounts on the opposite (complementary) side of the colour circle. If you additively mix two colours that are close to each other on the colour circle, you will get a mixed colour, not a grey. Additive mixtures have many real life applications. For example, in colour television, the additive mixture works by three different sets of photosensitive substances.
 
Further Reading:

Goldstein, E. B. (1989). Sensation and perception. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Gouras, P. (1991). Color vision. In E. R. Kandel, J. H. Schwartz, & T. M. Jessell (Eds.), Principles of Neural Science. (3rd ed.). )New York: Elsevier.

 
Related Terms:
Colour blindness

Subtractive color mixing

Self-Instructional Resources:
Take a 2-item self-test over this concept.

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