Selective color constancy deficits after circumscribed unilateral brain lesions.
The color of an object, when part of a complex scene, is determined not only by its spectral reflectance but also by the colors of all other objects in the scene (von Helmholtz, 1886; Ives, 1912; Land, 1959). By taking global color information into account, the visual system is able to maintain constancy of the color appearance of the object, despite large variations in the light incident on the retina arising from changes in the spectral content of the illuminating light (Hurlbert, 1998; Maloney, 1999). The neural basis of this color constancy is, however, poorly understood. Although there seems to be a prominent role for retinal, cone-specific adaptation mechanisms (von Kries, 1902; Poppel, 1986; Foster and Nascimento, 1994), the contribution of cortical mechanisms to color constancy is still unclear (Land et al., 1983; D'Zmura and Lennie, 1986). We examined the color perception of 27 patients with defined unilateral lesions mainly located in the parieto-temporo-occipital and fronto-parieto-temporal cortex. With a battery of clinical and specially designed color vision tests we tried to detect and differentiate between possible deficits in central color processing. Our results show that color constancy can be selectively impaired after circumscribed unilateral lesions in parieto-temporal cortex of the left or right hemisphere. Five of 27 patients exhibited significant deficits in a color constancy task, but all of the 5 performed well in color discrimination or higher-level visual tasks, such as the association of colors with familiar objects. These results indicate that the computations underlying color constancy are mediated by specialized cortical circuitry, which is independent of the neural substrate for color discrimination and for assigning colors to objects. (+info
Preretinopic changes in the colour vision of juvenile diabetics.
AIMS: To examine the colour vision of juvenile patients suffering from diabetes mellitus without retinopathy in relation to metabolic and ophthalmic state. METHODS: Metameric matches, both Rayleigh (red/green) and Moreland (blue/green) were used to test the colour vision yearly of 10 juvenile patients. The patients were monitored over 4 years, and during the final year, their blood glucose level was determined directly after testing colour vision. An ophthalmic examination was performed on the day of colour vision testing and blood and urine were analysed regularly throughout the 4 years. Their results are compared with an aged matched control group of 20 subjects, seven of whom were retested after 9-16 months. RESULTS: After 4 years, the colour vision results show an enlarged matching range for the Moreland match, as well as a smaller increase in the matching range for the Rayleigh match. No significant correlation was found between blood glucose at the time of testing and any of the variables measured. CONCLUSION: The pattern of colour vision deficits in metameric matching shown by juvenile diabetics is consistent with postreceptoral alterations of the inner retina, at this preretinopic stage of disease. Duration of diabetes is correlated with both colour vision changes and morphological alteration of the retina. (+info
Analysis of red/green color discrimination in subjects with a single X-linked photopigment gene.
Many subjects despite having only a single X-linked pigment gene (single-L/M-gene subjects) are able to make chromatic discriminations by Rayleigh matching, especially when large fields are used. We used a combination of psychophysics (Rayleigh match), electroretinograms (ERG), and molecular genetic techniques to rule out several possible explanations of this phenomenon. Use of rods for chromatic discrimination was unlikely since strong adapting fields were employed and the large-field match results were not consistent with rod participation. A putative mid- to long-wavelength photopigment that escapes detection by current molecular genetic analysis was ruled out by finding only a single L/M photopigment in flicker ERGs from 16 single-L/M-gene subjects. Large-field match results were not consistent with participation of S cones. Amino acid sequence polymorphisms in the S-pigment gene that might have shifted the S cone spectrum towards longer wavelengths were not found on sequencing. The mechanism of chromatic discrimination in the presence of a single photopigment therefore remains unknown. Further possible explanations such as variations in cone pigment density and retinal inhomogeneities are discussed. (+info
The spatial tuning of color and luminance peripheral vision measured with notch filtered noise masking.
We have measured the spatial bandwidths of the bandpass red-green chromatic and luminance mechanisms at four locations in the nasal visual field (0, 10, 20 and 30 degrees) using a method of notch filtered noise masking which effectively removes the artifact of off-frequency looking for our stimuli. Detection thresholds were measured for luminance or isoluminant red-green Gaussian enveloped test gratings of 0.5 cpd embedded in 1/f noise. Firstly, thresholds were obtained as a function of increasing noise spectral density and were fitted using a standard noise masking model. These results support the existence across the visual field of independent, red-green chromatic and luminance mechanisms with similar sampling efficiencies. Secondly, we measured thresholds in notch filtered noise as a function of notch width and derived the spatial bandwidth of the detection mechanism. We find both color and luminance mechanisms have similar bandwidths which remain virtually constant across eccentricity. These results indicate strong overall similarities between the early processing of color and luminance vision, and lend support to the role of color as an 'intrinsic image' in spatial vision. The results are discussed in the light of the anchored channel and shifting channel models of peripheral contrast sensitivity and pattern detection. (+info
Evidence for the stochastic independence of the blue-yellow, red-green and luminance detection mechanisms revealed by subthreshold summation.
We investigated the manner in which the outputs of the three postreceptoral mechanisms (red-green, blue-yellow and luminance) combine to determine contrast threshold. We used a subthreshold summation paradigm to test whether the combination of the postreceptoral mechanism outputs could be described by a probability summation model which assumes stochastic independence of the mechanisms, and determined the best fitting summation exponent. Stimuli were Gaussian enveloped 1 c/d sinusoidal gratings represented in a 3D cardinal space transformed from cone contrast axes, and normalized to detection threshold. The use of this space avoids the presence of elongated threshold contours, allowing a reliable model fit to include the less sensitive blue-yellow and luminance mechanisms. Our results were well fitted by the probability summation model and hence support the underlying stochastic independence of the three postreceptoral mechanisms. (+info
The oblique effect with colour defined motion throughout the visual field.
We assessed the extent of the oblique effect (OE) and the meridional orientation effect (MOE) for a chromatic motion task using red/green gratings throughout an 80 degrees visual field. Four different stimulus orientations were tested. Generally, sensitivity to chromatic motion decreased with increasing eccentricity regardless of the visual field meridian. Also, sensitivity was highest for horizontal or vertical gratings, thus supporting the presence of an OE rather than of a MOE. The strength of the OE varied between subjects, but was present from the fovea to 20 degrees of eccentricity. At 40 degrees of eccentricity, chromatic motion was always perceived but the grating orientation did not consistently influence chromatic motion sensitivity. The present study confirmed our previous results on chromatic motion sensitivity and isoluminance ratios throughout the visual field. In addition, our data show that the chromatic system can exhibit OEs at lower spatial frequencies than is observed for the achromatic system. (+info
An fMRI version of the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue test reveals multiple color-selective areas in human ventral occipitotemporal cortex.
Studies of patients with cerebral achromatopsia have suggested that ventral occipitotemporal cortex is important for color perception. We created a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) version of a clinical test commonly used to assess achromatopsia, the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue test. The test required normal subjects to use color information in the visual stimulus to perform a color sequencing task. A modification of the test requiring ordering by luminance was used as a control task. Subjects were also imaged as they passively viewed colored stimuli. A limited number of areas responded more to chromatic than achromatic stimulation, including primary visual cortex. Most color-selective activity was concentrated in ventral occipitotemporal cortex. Several areas in ventral cortex were identified. The most posterior, located in posterior fusiform gyrus, corresponded to the area activated by passive viewing of colored stimuli. More anterior and medial color-selective areas were located in the collateral sulcus and fusiform gyrus. These more anterior areas were not identified in previous imaging studies which used passive viewing of colored stimuli, and were most active in our study when visual color information was behaviorally relevant, suggesting that attention influences activity in color-selective areas. The fMRI version of the Farnsworth-Munsell test may be useful in the study of achromatopsia. (+info
Colour vision: Is colour constancy real?
Colour constancy is typically weaker in the laboratory than it seems in our everyday experience. New measurements using real-world stimuli show that colour constancy is in fact almost perfect, and that several different perceptual mechanisms contribute to achieving it. (+info