The data set contains colour matching functions of 20 individual observers.
The observers are trying to match a reference light of given frequency lambda by mixing red (r) green (g) and blue (b) light with adjustable intensity.
The data set is from the final report of the Commission Internationl de l'Eclairage (CIE) on the National Physical Laboratory's investigation of colour-matching, the historical experiment which laid the foundation for many modern color matching systems. This is the basis which made colour systems like RGB useful. But far beyond that, it is one of the basic experiments for understanding the human visual colour system.
The green intensity for observer MCB(14) at lambda=620nm is reported as 5.881E-1. This gives an extreme outlier. Presumably the correct value was 5.881E-2, given the lower plot in this display:
The following plot shows the individual date for the r,g,b components in the top rows, together with a smoothed fit. The middle row gives the residuals, that is the differences (observed - fitted value). The outlier has been removed in this plot. The colour code in this plot is not calibrated and should be used for rough orientation only.
The original data refer to coordinates in RGB space. Each response corresponds to one point in this 3 dimensional space. Here is a movie to show the three dimensional data structure for 20 individual observers. A Quicktime viewer must be installed to view this movie.
The original data set is in four dimensions - one for the regressor, three dimensions for the reponse. Encoding the regresor by colour and using rotation gives a full picture, revealing a one dimension curve imbedded (non plnar) in three space.
Color matching functions in RGB space for 20 individual observers.
Taking residuals from one dimensional marginal regression gives another view in four dimensional space. It shows a disk in the red/green plane, and a very distinct rod in the direction dominated by blue.
We did not make use of the background theory of colour perception. But the residuals give a picture that fits.
Color matching function residuals in RGB space for 20 individual observers.