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Effect of foveal tritanopia on reaction times to chromatic stimuli

Visual Neuroscience
Cambridge University Press
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To investigate the effect of foveal inhomogeneities on sensitivity to chromatic Stimuli, we measured simple reaction times (RTs) and detection thresholds to temporally and spatially blurred isoluminant stimuli at retinal eccentricities from 0 deg to 8 deg. Three color-normal subjects participated. Contrast gain was derived front the slope of the RT versus contrast function. With a Gaussian spatial distribution (S.D. = 0.5 deg) and Modulation between white (CIE x, y, L = 0.31, 0.316, 12.5 cd.m(-2)) and blue (MBDKL 90 deg), gain was maximal at about 2-deg eccentricity and declined by approximately 1 log unit towards the center and the periphery. The red (0 deg) and green (180 deg) cardinal axes showed maximum gain in the center. whilst the yellow (270 deg) data were intermediate. Although the spatial extent of the Gaussian spot was much larger than the S-cone free zone, we wished to determine whether foveal tritanopia was responsible for the marked drop in sensitivity to the 90-deg stimulus. To align the color vector along a tritan line. we used a smaller disk (0.3 deg) with a blurred edge and measured detection threshold, rotating the vector until minimum central sensitivity was obtained. Other workers have used transient tritanopia or minimally distinct border to similar effect. By repeating this at different locations in color space, a group of vectors were obtained. These converged near to the S-cone co-punctal point, evidence that they lay along tritan confusion lines. These threshold findings were then confirmed using the RT-derived contrast gain function. The tritan vectors were less pronounced as stimulus size increased. With the vector optimized to produce foveal tritanopia, the RT gain versus eccentricity functions for the 90-deg and 270-deg stimuli both fell markedly in the center and periphery, and sensitivity peaked at about 3-deg eccentricity. There are some similarities between these findings and the underlying photoreceptor distributions. As a result, there is a greater difference ill gain between red-green and blue-yellow systems in the center than in the near periphery. We conclude that the RT versus contrast function is a sensitive index of foveal opponency.

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