Temporal analysis of the chromatic flash VEP—separate colour and luminance contrast components Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Temporal analysis of the chromatic flash visual evoked potential (VEP) was studied in human subjects with normal and anomalous colour vision using a deterministic pseudo-random binary stimulus (VERIS). Five experiments were carried out on four normal subjects investigating heterochromatic red-green exchange and single colour/achromatic (either red/grey or green/grey) exchange over a wide range of luminance ratios for the two stimuli, the effects of lowered mean luminance on the chromatic VEP and the effects of colour desaturation at constant mean luminance and constant luminance contrast. Finally, the performance of three dichromats, a protanope and two deuteranopes, on heterochromatic exchange VEP and on colour desaturation were investigated. In contrast to the chromatic electroretinogram, which shows great symmetry with respect to luminance ratio on opposite sides of the isoluminant point, the chromatic VEP demonstrated a distinct asymmetry when the colours exchanged included red. On the red side of isoluminance (red more luminant than green), a wave with longer latency and altered waveform became dominant. The effects of green stimulation were indistinguishable from those of achromatic stimulation at the same luminance contrast over the whole range of chromatic contrast and for all levels of desaturation studied. Desaturation of red with constant luminance contrast (desaturated red/grey stimulation) resulted in a systematic alteration in the evoked waveform. Subtraction of the achromatic first- and second-order responses from responses recorded in the red desaturation series resulted in remarkably uniform waveforms, with peak amplitudes growing linearly with saturation. The absence of interaction between achromatic and coloured components for all (including the most intense colour) stimulus parameters used suggests that the generators of these components are separate. Recordings from the dichromats showed that the contrast response minimum shifted from the point of photopic isoluminance to the point of zero cone contrast (at the silent substitution point) for the remaining cone type. The waveforms recorded with a series of luminance ratios were much simpler than those recorded from trichromats and symmetrical with respect to their isoluminant points. Despite the indication of the presence of L cones of apparently normal spectral sensitivity in the deuteranopes (on the basis of flicker photometry), there was no evidence for a red-sensitive component in the desaturation or heterochromatic stimulation series. The results are discussed in terms of the possibility of separate generation of chromatic and achromatic contributions to the VEP.

publication date

  • December 1998