S-cone signals invisible to the motion system can improve motion extraction via grouping by color

Jasna Martinovic, Georg Meyer, Matthias M. Mueller, Sophie M. Wuerger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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The purpose of this study was to test whether color-motion correlations carried by a pure color difference (S-cone component only) can be used to improve global motion extraction. We also examined the neural markers of color-motion correlation processing in event-related potentials. Color and motion information was dissociated using a two-colored random dot kinematogram, wherein coherent motion and motion noise differed from each other only in their S-cone component, with spatial and temporal parameters set so that global motion processing relied solely on a constant L-M component. Hence, when color and the local motion direction are correlated, more efficient segregation of coherent motion can only be brought about by the S-cone difference, and crucially, this S-cone component does not provide any effective input to a global motion mechanism but only changes the color appearance of the moving dots. The color contrasts (vector length in the S vs. L-M plane) of both the dots carrying coherent motion and the dots moving randomly were fixed at motion discrimination threshold to ensure equal effectiveness for motion extraction. In the behavioral experiment, participants were asked to discriminate between coherent and random motion, and d' was determined for three different conditions: uncorrelated, uncued correlated, and cued correlated. In the electroencephalographic experiment, participants discriminated direction of motion for uncued correlated and cued correlated conditions. Color-motion correlations were found to improve performance. Cueing a specific color also modulated the N1 component of the event-related potential, with sources in visual area middle temporal. We Conclude that S-cone signals "invisible" to the motion system can influence the analysis by direction-selective motion mechanisms through grouping of local motion signals by color. This grouping mechanism must precede motion processing and is likely to be under attentional control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-248
Number of pages12
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • S-cones
  • Motion
  • Color
  • Grouping
  • Attention


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