The locus of color sensation: cortical color loss and the chromatic visual evoked potential

J Vis. 2013 Aug 28;13(10):15. doi: 10.1167/13.10.15.


Color losses of central origin (cerebral achromatopsia and dyschromatopsia) can result from cortical damage and are most commonly associated with stroke. Such cases have the potential to provide useful information regarding the loci of the generation of the percept of color. One available tool to examine this issue is the chromatic visual evoked potential (cVEP). The cVEP has been used successfully to objectively quantify losses in color vision capacity in both congenital and acquired deficiencies of retinal origin but has not yet been applied to cases of color losses of cortical origin. In addition, it is not known with certainty which cortical sites are responsible for the generation of the cVEP waveform components. Here we report psychophysical and electrophysiological examination of a patient with color deficits resulting from a bilateral cerebral infarct in the ventral occipitotemporal region. Although this patient demonstrated pronounced color losses of a general nature, the waveform of the cVEP remains unaffected. Contrast response functions of the cVEP are also normal for this patient. The results suggest that the percept of color arises after the origin of the cVEP and that normal activity in those areas that give rise to the characteristic negative wave of the cVEP are not sufficient to provide for the normal sensation of color.

Keywords: VEP; cerebral achromatopsia; dyschromatopsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Color Perception Tests / methods
  • Color Vision Defects / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Occipital Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*