Poorer color discrimination by females when tested with pseudoisochromatic plates containing vanishing designs on neutral backgrounds

Vis Neurosci. May-Jun 2008;25(3):501-5. doi: 10.1017/S0952523808080632.


It might be expected that normal trichromatic females would perform as well as normal trichromatic males of the same age when tested with standard clinical color-vision tests that use pseudoisochromatic vanishing designs on neutral gray backgrounds such as the Hardy-Rand-Rittler (HRR) pseudoisochromatic plates and the Neitz Test of Color Vision (NTCV). Here 2966 children aged 6-13 years from four municipalities in Norway were tested in their school classrooms with the NTCV. Children who made errors on the test were retested. 187 males and 152 females made one or more errors on retest, and each was tested individually on the Richmond HRR Fourth Edition. 8% of the males were defined as color deficient when a double criterion for failing was applied, that is, one or more errors on the NTCV and two or more errors on the HRR. The calculated frequency of color-deficient females (homozygotes) for the same criterion is 0.42%. By contrast, 3% of females failed the criterion that gave a stable population of color-deficient males. This result is considered in relation to reports of female carriers of color-vision deficiency having problems with the Ishihara test and of females having poorer color discrimination than males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Color Perception Tests / methods
  • Color Vision Defects / physiopathology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Vision Disorders / classification
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Vision Tests / methods