This paper presents a generalized image contrast enhancement technique, which equalizes the perceived brightness distribution based on the Heinemann contrast discrimination model. It is based on the mathematically proven existence of a unique solution to a nonlinear equation, and is formulated with easily tunable parameters. The model uses a two-step log-log representation of luminance contrast between targets and surround in a luminous background setting. The algorithm consists of two nonlinear gray
scale mapping functions that have seven parameters, two of which are adjustable Heinemann constants. Another parameter is the background gray level. The remaining four parameters are nonlinear functions of the gray-level distribution of the given image, and can be uniquely determined once the previous three are set. Tests have been carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithm for increasing the overall contrast of radiology images. The traditional histogram equalization can be reinterpreted as an image enhancement technique based on the knowledge of human contrast perception. In fact, it is a special case of the proposed algorithm.