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When S-cones contribute to chromatic global motion processing


There is common consensus now that color-defined motion can be perceived by the human visual system. For global motion integration tasks based on isoluminant random dot kinematograms conflicting evidence exists, whether observers can (Ruppertsberg et al., 2003) or cannot (Bilodeau & Faubert, 1999) extract a common motion direction for stimuli modulated along the isoluminant red-green axis. Here we report conditions, in which S-cones contribute to chromatic global motion processing. When the display included extra-foveal regions, the individual elements were large (∼0.3°) and the displacement was large (∼1°), stimuli modulated along the yellowish-violet axis proved to be effective in a global motion task. The color contrast thresholds for detection for both color axes were well below the contrasts required for global motion integration, and therefore the discrimination-to-detection ratio was >1. We conclude that there is significant S-cone input to chromatic global motion processing and the extraction of global motion is not mediated by the same mechanism as simple detection. Whether the koniocellular or the magnocellular pathway is involved in transmitting S-cone signals is a topic of current debate (Chatterjee & Callaway, 2002).

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Alexa I. Ruppertsberg, Department of Optometry, University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 1DP, United Kingdom. E-mail:
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Visual Neuroscience
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