Abstract

Chromatic-discrimination thresholds were measured for light mixtures lying along individually determined tritan axes and an axis of constant short-wavelength-sensitive- (S-) cone stimulation for 30 color-normal observers (age range 22–77 years). The stimulus was a foveally viewed 2°, circular bipartite field consisting of a standard and a test light. Heterochromatic flicker photometry was used to equate the retinal illuminance of the stimuli at 120 Td for all observers. All stimuli were presented in Maxwellian view. Age-related losses in chromatic discrimination depended on the level of cone stimulation. At relatively lower levels of S- and long-wavelength-sensitive (L-) cone stimulation, discrimination thresholds were elevated for older relative to younger observers. As the level of simulation increased for these two cone types, thresholds converged, on average, for all observers. Application of a model of chromatic discrimination mediated by an S-cone pathway suggests that there is no significant age-related change in Weber fractions and that age-related losses in chromatic discrimination are due, at least in part, to spontaneous neural noise arising in the pathway and/or neural changes that multiplicatively scale all incident light.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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