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An adaptation of the Cambridge Colour Test for use with animals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2006

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Recently, molecular biological techniques have presented new opportunities for addressing questions concerning the neural mechanisms involved in color coding, thereby rousing renewed interest in animal color vision testing. We have modified a computer-based assessment tool, the Cambridge Colour Test, to make it suitable for use with animals. Here, the validity and reliability of the testing method were evaluated using squirrel monkeys. Because the chromatic stimuli and the achromatic backgrounds of the test consist of dots that vary in lightness, the stimulus parameters can be adjusted so that animals are not able to use luminance differences to make correct discriminations. Thus, in contrast to methods used previously, this test does not require that time be spent equating the luminance of each chromatic stimulus examined. Furthermore, the computer video-display based design of the testing apparatus can be easily replicated and adapted for use with many species in a variety of settings. In the present experiments, the squirrel monkeys' behavioral results agreed with the predictions for their color vision based on genetic analysis and electroretinography (ERG) spectral sensitivity data. Repeated measurements were highly consistent. Thus, an adaptation of the Cambridge Colour Test provides a valid and reliable method for testing color vision in animals.

© 2006 Cambridge University Press

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