Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 175, Issue 1, pp 110–126

Visually guided movements to color targets

  • Brian J. White
  • Dirk Kerzel
  • Karl R. Gegenfurtner
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-006-0532-5

Cite this article as:
White, B.J., Kerzel, D. & Gegenfurtner, K.R. Exp Brain Res (2006) 175: 110. doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0532-5

Abstract

The pathways controlling motor behavior are believed to exhibit little selectivity for color, but there is growing evidence suggesting that color signals can be used to guide actions. We investigated this by having observers make a saccade or a rapid pointing movement to a small, peripherally flashed (100 ms) Gaussian target (SD=0.5°) defined exclusively by luminance (maximum contrast) or color (from cardinal DKL red–green or blue–yellow axes, at maximum saturation). We found no difference in saccadic or pointing accuracy for luminance or color targets. The same was true using shutter goggles during pointing (to minimize the use of external cues), and when the luminance contrast of color targets was varied by up to ±10%. In terms of response times, both eye and hand latencies increased with target eccentricity for R–G targets only, in a manner consistent with the sensitivity of this channel across eccentricity. We found little difference in response latencies between luminance and color targets once matched in terms of cone contrast. While RTs were longer when coupled with a goal directed pointing movement (versus a simple reaction without pointing), the difference was the same for color or luminance targets, suggesting that the spatial coding for the movements was also the same. In a final experiment we compared the accuracy of pointing to color-naming performance in a 4AFC procedure. The psychometric functions relating pointing accuracy (% correct quadrant) to color-naming (% correct color-name) were identical. Taken together, the results show that human observers can efficiently use pure chromatic signals to guide actions.

Keywords

Pointing movements Saccadic eye movements Color 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian J. White
    • 1
  • Dirk Kerzel
    • 2
  • Karl R. Gegenfurtner
    • 1
  1. 1.Justus-Liebig-Universität GiessenAbteilung Allgemeine PsychologieGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Université de GenèveGenèveSwitzerland

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