Tone mapping operators are designed to reproduce visibility and the overall impression of brightness, contrast and color of the real world onto limited dynamic range displays and printers. Although many tone mapping operators have been published in recent years, no thorough psychophysical experiments have yet been undertaken to compare such operators against the real scenes they are purporting to depict. In this paper, we present the results of a series of psychophysical experiments to validate six frequently used tone mapping operators against linearly mapped High Dynamic Range (HDR) scenes displayed on a novel HDR device. Individual operators address the tone mapping issue using a variety of approaches and the goals of these techniques are often quite different from one another. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was not simply to determine which is the ybesty algorithm, but more generally to propose an experimental methodology to validate such operators and to determine the participantsy impressions of the images produced compared to what is visible on a high contrast ratio display.