Age-related changes in wavelength discrimination

Keizo Shinomori, Brooke E. Schefrin, John S Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Wavelength discrimination functions (420 to 620-650 nm) were measured for four younger (mean 30.9 years) and four older (mean 72.5 years) observers. Stimuli consisted of individually determined isoluminant monochromatic lights (10 Td) presented in each half of a 2° circular bipartite field with use of a Maxwellian-view optical system. A spatial two-alternative forced-choice method was used in combination with a staircase procedure to determine discrimination thresholds across the spectrum. Small but consistent elevations in discrimination thresholds were found for older compared with younger observers. Because the retinal illuminance of the stimuli was equated across all observers, these age-related losses in discrimination are attributable to neural changes. Analyses of these data reveal a significant change in Weber fraction across adulthood for a chromatically opponent pathway receiving primarily antagonistic signals from middle-wavelength-sensitive and long-wavelength-sensitive cones but not for a short-wavelength-sensitive cone pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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