December 2010
Volume 10, Issue 15
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2010
Red/green color naming declines in the periphery. “Blue”/“yellow” does not. What happens in visual search?
Author Affiliations
  • Rob Dalhaus III
    Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN, USA
  • Karen L. Gunther
    Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN, USA
Journal of Vision December 2010, Vol.10, 53. doi:
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      Rob Dalhaus III, Karen L. Gunther; Red/green color naming declines in the periphery. “Blue”/“yellow” does not. What happens in visual search?. Journal of Vision 2010;10(15):53.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The ability to name red and green declines earlier in the periphery than the ability to name blue and yellow (Hansen, Pracejus, & Gegenfurtner, 2009; Newton & Eskew, 2003). This is thought to be due to differences in retinal wiring. In the fovea, midget retinal ganglion cells receive a single L or M cone input to their central receptive fields and multiple, random, cone input to the surround, yielding chromatic opponency. In the periphery, however, midgets receive multiple cone central input, reducing chromatic opponency (Gunther & Dobkins, 2002; Mullen & Kingdom, 1996, 2002), and apparently also reducing subjects' ability to name red and green stimuli. The ability to name blue and yellow (unique blue and yellow or retinal/physiological violet and chartreuse), however, remains farther into the periphery. These colors are processed by the small bistratified cells, which receive S vs. L + M cone input throughout their entire receptive fields, without center/surround organization, across the entire retina. Thus, “blue”/“yellow” performance would not be predicted to vary with eccentricity. Here we test the effect of this red/green peripheral drop-off in a visual search task. We first mapped out color naming performance, and found that red/green performance declines sharply beginning around 40° eccentricity, whereas violet/chartreuse performance declines less sharply around 45-50°. In a feature visual search task (e.g., red target dot amongst green distractor dots; twelve, 2.5° diameter dots; 0, 20, and 45° eccentricity), these differences in retinal wiring appear to impair red/green visual search more than violet/chartreuse visual search at 45°.

RD's summer 2010 stipend was paid for by the Eldon Parks Memorial Fund for Support of Student Research in Psychology, Wabash College. 
Gunther, K. L., Dobkins, K. R.(2002). Individual differences in chromatic (red/green) contrast sensitivity are constrained by the relative number of L- versus M-cones in the eye. Vision Research, 42(11), 1367–1378. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hansen, T., Pracejus, L., Gegenfurtner, K. R.(2009). Color perception in the intermediate periphery of the visual field. Journal of Vision, 9(4):26, 21-12.
Mullen, K. T., Kingdom, F. A.(1996). Losses in peripheral colour sensitivity predicted from “hit and miss” post-receptoral cone connections. Vision Research, 36(13), 1995–2000. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Mullen, K. T., Kingdom, F. A.(2002). Differential distributions of red-green and blue-yellow cone opponency across the visual field. Visual Neuroscience, 19(1), 109–118. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Newton, J. R., Eskew, R. T., Jr.(2003). Chromatic detection and discrimination in the periphery: A postreceptoral loss of color sensitivity. Visual Neuroscience, 20(5), 511–521. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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