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Attentional capture by colour and motion in cerebral achromatopsia

Cole, G.G.; Heywood, C.A.; Kentridge, R.W.; Fairholm, I.; Cowey, A


G.G. Cole

C.A. Heywood

I. Fairholm

A Cowey


Cerebral achromatopsia is a rare condition in which damage to the ventromedial occipital area of the cortex results in the loss of colour experience. Nevertheless, cortically colour-blind patients can still use wavelength variation to perceive form and motion. In a series of six experiments we examined whether colour could also direct exogenous attention in an achromatopsic observer. We employed the colour singleton paradigm, the phi motion effect, and the correspondence process to assess attentional modulation. Although colour singletons failed to capture attention, a motion signal, based solely on chromatic information, was able to direct attention in the patient. We then show that the effect is abolished when the chromatic contours of stimuli are masked with simultaneous luminance contrast. We argue that the motion effect is dependent on chromatic contrast mediated via intact colour-opponent mechanisms. The results are taken as further evidence for the processing of wavelength variation in achromatopsia despite the absence of colour experience.


Cole, G., Heywood, C., Kentridge, R., Fairholm, I., & Cowey, A. (2003). Attentional capture by colour and motion in cerebral achromatopsia. Neuropsychologia, 41(13), 1837-1846.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 2, 2003
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2007
Journal Neuropsychologia
Print ISSN 0028-3932
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 13
Pages 1837-1846
Keywords Achromatopsia, Colour, Attention, Motion.