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An image enhancement algorithm for images compressed using the JPEG standard is presented. The algorithm is based on a contrast measure defined within the discrete cosine transform (DCT) domain. The advantages of the psychophysically motivated algorithm are 1) the algorithm does not affect the compressibility of the original image because it enhances the images in the decompression stage and 2) the approach is characterized by low computational complexity. The proposed algorithm is applicable to any DCT-based image compression standard, such as JPEG, MPEG 2, and H. 261.